Tesla wins court nod to clear forest for German Gigafactory

February 21, 2020 09:40
General view of the area where US electric vehicle pioneer Tesla plans to build a new factory on forest land in Gruenheide in Germany. Photo: Reuters

Tesla secured approval from a German court on Thursday to continue to cut down forest near the capital Berlin to build its first European car and battery factory, in a defeat for local environmental activists, Reuters reports.

The court said in a statement that it has rejected urgent applications from several environmental groups to stop the land being cleared of trees, adding that the ruling was final.

The court had temporarily halted the tree felling earlier this month.

Tesla announced plans last November to build a Gigafactory in Gruenheide in the eastern state of Brandenburg that surrounds Berlin, a decision that was initially lauded as a vote of confidence in Germany.

However, local and national lawmakers were caught out by the strength of opposition to the Gigafactory, with hundreds of demonstrators protesting over what they say is the threat it poses to local wildlife and water supplies.

Lawmakers from Germany’s pro-business Christian Democrat and Free Democrat parties had warned that the legal battle waged against the Gigafactory would inflict serious damage on Germany’s image as a place to do business.

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