Tesla Inc. has received a German Court approval, allowing the electric car maker to continue to clear a forest area to build its Gigafactory in the country.
A Berlin-Brandenburg court ruled that the company can continue to cut down trees at a forest site in Gruenheide. According to the court, local authorities have met legal requirements to allow early construction.
The lawsuit was filed by environmental group Gruene Liga Brandenburg that alleged that the factory could pollute the area’s drinking water. They claimed Tesla and local authorities were sidestepping regulations to rush the project.
In early February, Brandenburg’s environment ministry granted Tesla preliminary approval to start cutting down trees on the 300-hectare site for the new manufacturing plant.
Meanwhile, the court on February 15 temporarily halted the tree felling process with an injunction due to environmental concerns.
Other environmental activist groups also have voiced concerns that the deforestation could threaten local wildlife.
Tesla says on its website that it plans to replant an area three times as large as the factory site.
Tesla reportedly has cut down two-thirds of the trees already, and expects to start construction of the site before March, when a crucial breeding period for local wildlife will start. The company plans to get ready the plant by the middle of next year.
According to reports, Tesla has still not received permission to build the factory, but has been allowed to make site preparations at its own risk.
In November 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had announced plans to build its next factory in Germany, which would be a “Gigafactory.” Musk also said Tesla was planning an engineering and design center near Berlin’s new airport.
Tesla plans to make its Model 3 electric sedans and the Model Y, a crossover SUV, at the German factory.
The proposed $4-billion Gigafactory factory would be Tesla’s first Gigafactory in Europe and its fourth in the world.
Tesla has two other vehicle factories in the U.S. and one in China.
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