Tesla gets green light from German court to chop down trees for its new Gigafactory


Tesla CEO Elon Musk poses on the red carpet as he arrives for the 43rd “Golden Steering Wheel” awards on November 12, 2019 in Berlin.

Tobias Schwarz | AFP via Getty Images

Tesla has been given the go-ahead from a German court to cut down trees for its new European factory.

Though it doesn’t yet have planning permission to build the so-called Gigafactory in Brandenburg, the local government agency overseeing its intended site gave it permission to clear 91 hectares of forest land.

Environmental campaigners opposed to the chopping down of trees had managed to get the higher administrative court of Berlin and Brandenburg to issue an injunction to temporarily halt the preparatory work.

But the court, which oversees the region in which Tesla plans on building its new plant, on Thursday decided to throw out the injunction.

The decision is “final,” the court said in a statement, paving the way for the U.S. electric car giant to resume the forest clearance.

The Green League activist group in Brandenburg, which is situated south-east of Berlin, had expressed anger over the environmental impact of Tesla’s European Gigafactory. But the company said it had addressed such concerns and would replant trees to cover an area “three times the factory plot.”

Tesla plans to begin construction of the facility this year and is looking to begin vehicle production by 2021, with a view to manufacture 500,000 cars annually. It will be the company’s fourth Gigafactory, with others located in Nevada, New York and more recently Shanghai, China.

The firm’s billionaire CEO Elon Musk has called German engineering “outstanding” and said it’s “part of the reason” as to why it’s locating its European plant in the country. Germany is home to two of the world’s largest automakers, Volkswagen and Daimler.

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