NATIONAL Grid is under fire for overlooking local labour in its £2.8bn scheme to provide high-voltage links to a new nuclear power plant at Moorside, Sellafield.

Power lines are due to run south from Moorside to Heysham in Lancashire, and north to Harker near Carlisle, buried underground at sensitive locations including a tunnel under Morecambe Bay.

But only 20 per cent of the hundreds of jobs to be created on the project will be recruited locally.

Whitehaven mayor Raymond Gill said: "The utilisation of 20 per cent of localised labour is well below what I would expect.

"I would prefer to see a much higher figure."

He added: "The provision of electricity to Moorside is a nationally significant infrastructure project.

"There will be a lot of impact on our existing infrastructure as this takes place and one of the ways that National Grid can engage with our community is by offering jobs in the first instance to our own residents.

"At every opportunity, I will seek to drive that message home."

National Grid is consulting the public on its proposals.

The consultation runs until January 6 and drop-in sessions continue until December 10. For more information, click here