A German court has ordered that work on Tesla’s planned Gigafactory outside Berlin must halt, amid concerns over its impact on local wildlife.
The ruling, handed down by the joint court of Berlin and its surrounding state of Brandenburg on Monday (Feb 16), is a victory for a local group named the Grüne Liga Brandenburg (Green League of Brandenburg), which has protested the plans’ effects on fauna and drinking water.
A November decision had allowed the US automaker to clear 92 hectares of forest to make way for its first European Gigafactory, in the town of Grünheide, just miles from the border of the German capital. Clearances were just three days from completion when courts intervened. Tesla has vowed to plant three times as many trees in a nearby location, as part of the deal.
“It should not be assumed that the motion seeking legal protection brought by the Green League lacks any chance of succeeding,” the ruling said. The League’s opposition, however, was criticized even by a member of the Green Party, who told local newspaper the Berliner Tagesspiegel that “turning a pinewood plantation into a battlefield is absurd. That has nothing to do with protecting nature.”
The ruling comes after protesters in the Berlin neighborhood of Kreuzberg successfully thwarted plans for a Google Campus in November 2018, on the grounds it would socially cleanse an area of the city already creaking under gentrification and tourism.
Telsa must now wait on its German future, amid share surges of up to 340% as investors react to chief Elon Musk’s ambitious plans. The company’s sci-fi-looking Cybertruck is on track to achieve over half a million pre-orders, while Fast Company recently reported that the company’s insurance offering may have a huge impact.