American carmaker Tesla has received permission from a German court to cut trees to clear space for the construction of its new European plant for the production of electric vehicles and lithium-ion batteries.
Although the company does not yet have a specific permit specifically for the construction of the Gigafactory in Brandenburg, the local government, which controls its proposed construction site, has given permission to clear 91 hectares of forest land..
Environmentalists who opposed the felling of trees managed to get the Supreme Administrative Court of Berlin and Brandenburg to issue an injunction to temporarily halt preparatory work..
Saturday’s injunction raised concerns that German bureaucracy could force Tesla to reconsider its investment in Berlin, which at one time was seen as a major victory for Germany when it was announced last November..
And just a few days after that, German Minister of Economy Peter Altmaier called for the fastest completion of the construction of the future «Gigafactory» Tesla near Berlin.
Altmaier said he hopes the Tesla plant will be built as soon as possible, stating that he «is essential for greater climate protection» and is «one of the most important industrial projects in East Germany for a long time».
The minister said that the factory would allow Germany to show that «ecology and economics are not in conflict» and that the country can implement important projects as quickly as others.
Tesla Inc received German court approval on Thursday to continue deforestation near Berlin’s capital.
The court said in a statement that he rejected urgent applications to stop clearing land from trees from several environmental groups, adding that his decision was final..
Group of activists "Green League" of Brandenburg (Green League of Brandenburg), located southeast of Berlin, protested that the construction and operation of Tesla’s gigafactory would have an extremely negative impact on the environment. But the company said it would tackle the problem and plant new trees to cover the area., «three times the size of the factory site».
Legislators from German private business parties, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) have warned that a legal battle against Tesla’s Gigafactory would seriously damage Germany’s image as a business location.
Tesla plans to begin construction on the facility this year, and plans to start producing cars by 2021, with an eye on the production of 500,000 vehicles a year. This will be the company’s fourth Gigafactory, on par with others located in Nevada, New York and most recently in Shanghai, China..
The CEO of the company, billionaire Elon Musk, called the German engineering «outstanding» and said it was «one of the reasons» why he is locating his European plant in this country. Germany is home to two of the world’s largest automakers, Volkswagen and Daimler..