Elon Musk’s Tesla has been ordered to stop clearing forest land near the capital of Berlin, Germany, to build its new “Gigafactory.”
Reuters reports that a German court has ordered Tesla to stop cutting down trees in a forest near the capital of Berlin to make room for its first European “Gigafactory.” The electric vehicle maker announced plans last November to build a factory in Gruenheide, located in the eastern state of Brandenburg.
The ruling by the higher administrative court of the states of Berlin and Brandenburg comes shortly after the state environmental office gave Tesla permission to clear 92 hectares of forest to make room for the new manufacturing plant. However, the planning permission for the factory had not yet been granted meaning that preparing the ground for the factory was done at the company’s own risk.
The court stated that it would have taken Tesla only three more days to clear the area of trees which accelerated the issuing of the order. If the order to stop clearing trees had not been issued, the work would have been completed before the judges made a final decision on a complaint brought by a local environmentalist group called the Gruene Liga Brandenburg (Green League of Brandenburg).
“It should not be assumed that the motion seeking legal protection brought by the Green League lacks any chance of succeeding,” the court statement added. Lawmakers from the Christian Democrat and Free Democrat parties have warned that the legal battle against the Gigafactroy could inflict long-lasting damage on Germany’s image as a place to do business.
Lawmakers appear to be surprised by the strength of the opposition towards the Gigafactroy with hundreds of demonstrators protesting what they say is the threat it poses to local wildlife and water supplies.