Campaigners fighting to save RAF bases in Moray from possible closure have called on the Ministry of Defence not to delay a decision about their future.
Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey last week said a decision on the future of Scottish RAF bases would not be made before the Scottish elections in May.
But Moray Task Force representatives said the delay was “unacceptable”.
RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Leuchars in Fife are both under threat, while RAF Kinloss is to close as an air base.
The bases have come under threat as the government considers a range of defence cuts following a strategic defence review.
The task force, made up of community and business leaders, called for the MoD to re-think its decision to hold off an announcement.
Lesley Ann Parker, from Moray Chamber of Commerce, said by announcing its plans in October last year, the UK government had created a time of uncertainty for RAF personnel, civilian staff and wider communities.
She said: “Every day without a decision impacts on local people’s lives and jobs.
“There is no other area in the UK where the effects of the MoD’s action, or lack of it, will be felt more.
“We believe there is a wide acceptance of the strategic defence, geographical, social and economic advantages for keeping the RAF in Moray.
“We had been told we would know by the spring. We will be again contacting the Ministry of Defence to ensure they understand the effects of this delay.”
She added: “It is utterly unacceptable that even now we are being left without any guarantees as to when this will be resolved.”
‘Dig deep’Meeting in Forres, the task force agreed it would “dig deep” and harden its resolve to continue fighting for the retention of the RAF in Moray.
During a visit to Moray on Friday, Mr Harvey said he understood the decision had “a human impact, a business impact and an impact on the housing market” and insisted the government would do its best to give clarity as soon as it could.
He added: “We haven’t actually delayed it any further, we’ve just offered clarification that an announcement could not be made during the election period, for the Scottish Parliamentary elections.”