Court asks Tesla to temporarily stop cutting down trees at site of 1st European Gigafactory

Tesla's Berlin 'Gigafactory' halted by forest protection (Photo: DW)

A court in Germany has ordered construction at the site of Tesla’s first European Gigafactory to be temporarily halted after legal complaints filed by an environmental group.

The Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Bradenburg ruled this weekend that that an appeal from the Green League Brandenburg over the removal of trees at the future site of the electric vehicle plant must be considered, according to DW, Germany’s state-sponsored public broadcaster.

The Green League filed an emergency appeal on Friday Feb. 14th, calling for the immediate stop to the tree felling.

“It should not be assumed that the motion seeking legal protection brought by the Green League lacks any chance of succeeding,” a statement from the court ordering Tesla to stop cutting down trees read, Reuters reported. The appeal comes after the local environmental office gave Tesla initial permission to clear 92 hectares of forest, or about 277 acres, for the upcoming Gigafactory.

Bradenburg’s economy minister Joerg Steinbach tweeted that Tesla and the state environmental agency have until Tuesday Feb. 18 to respond to the court ruling.

Tesla did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment on Monday Feb. 17. The company outlines its commitment to “improving the natural environment near the factory and in the wider state of Bradenburg” as it stated on its website.

“We aim at replanting an area three times the size of the factory plot, with mixed native trees, in an area with the potential to become a full grown forest, while working with environmental and other expert groups for the best possible outcome,” the company states.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in November last year that the company’s first Gigafactory in Europe would be built in the Berlin metropolitan area and that batteries, powertrains and electric vehicles would be manufactured there, for “Models 3 and Y”.

In a memo to investors prior to the announcement, Tesla said that the European Gigafactory is expected to produce Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, and that production is expected to begin in 2021.

The Yucatan Times