Tesla gets court approval to clear forest for German Gigafactory

Reuters

Posted at Feb 21 2020 08:04 AM

A worker clears trees at the area where US electric vehicle pioneer Tesla plans to build a Tesla Gigafactory, after a court ordered to stop clearing forest land, in Gruenheide near Berlin, Germany Feb. 17, 2020. Annegret Hilse, Reuters

BERLIN - Tesla Inc got 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.

The court said in a statement it had rejected urgent applications to stop the land being cleared of trees from several environmental groups, adding its ruling was final. It had temporarily halted the tree felling earlier this month.

The US electric carmaker 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.