THE chairman of a committee looking into the East Barnet gas crisis has hit back at accusations the process is just “window dressing”.

Councillor Brian Coleman has accused David Howard, chairman of the Federation of Residents' Associations Barnet (FORAB) of ignoring the evidence produced in a highly-charged meeting.

Mr Howard had said he council should also have been scrutinised more closely in their handling of the problems, where 3,000 homes were left without gas in freezing conditions over Christmas.

However, Cllr Coleman said: “The committee has heard the evidence and come to its conclusions.

“David Howard has ignored the evidence that was heard on the night and the minutes of the Gold Meetings members have read, which do not bear out his accusations.

“It seems to me he has a political agenda and has come to the meeting with a closed mind. Members of the committee came to it with an open mind.”

On Thursday the ad hoc scrutiny panel, made up of members from the three main parties, met to discuss recommendations following the meeting including pushing for extra compensation for residents.

However, many residents were unhappy the draft report was not made public so they could have their say on it.

Cllr Coleman added: “The report will be published when it's finished and signed off by members of the committee. No scrutiny committee on the council publishes its report before it's agreed.

“I actually think most residents of East Barnet have calmed down, National Grid have got their act together and everyone has their compensation now life moves on.

“Normally these things take months to do but I said we had to be done within two months or no-one would be interested this time next year.”

For more on the committee and reaction of traders and Mr Howard to the recommendations, click the related links below.