A German court Sunday required Tesla to stop clearing forest land near the capital Berlin to construct its first European car and battery manufacturing facility, a victory for local environmental activists.
The U.S. electric vehicle manufacturer introduced plans in November 2019 to construct a Gigafactory in Gruenheide in the eastern state of Brandenburg.
The court verdict, by the higher administrative courtroom of the states of Berlin and Brandenburg, comes after the state environmental office gave the go-ahead to clear 92 hectares of forest for the factory.
Planning approval has not yet been granted to construct the Gigafactory, nevertheless, which means U.S. entrepreneur Elon Musk’s firm is preparing the ground at its own risk.
Otherwise, the clearance would have been made before judges made a final choice on the complaint made by a local environmentalist organization known as the Gruene Liga Brandenburg.
Legislators from the pro-enterprise Christian Democrat and Free Democrat parties have warned that the legal fight conducted against the Gigafactory would cause severe and long-lasting injury on Germany’s image as a place to do business.
Local and national legislators have been caught out by the strength of opposition to the Gigafactory, with hundreds of demonstrators opposing over what they say is the menace it poses to local wildlife and water supplies.
Tesla currently has two Gigafactories in the U.S. and one in China.
Tesla shares have soared 340% since early June as more investors back Musk’s vision.