As won, so melted: Tesla has to stop the tree felling work on the site of its Grünheider car factory. This has just been ruled by the Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative Court.
Spokeswoman Christiane Scheerhorn on Thursday afternoon for the BZ: “The Senate has ordered the temporary stop of clearing after receiving the complaint from the environmentalists, so that no fait accompli can be created before the decision on the complaint.”
After the administrative court in Frankfurt (Oder) rejected an urgent application from the environmental associations Nabu and the Green League for a temporary stop to clearing, the conservationists moved to the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg (OVG). On Thursday they filed a complaint against the administrative court’s decision – and the decision followed a little later!
Tesla wants to start operating the plant in Grünheide near Berlin from summer next year. Initially, around 500,000 electric cars are to roll off the production lines. So far, the company has been building through individual provisional approvals because the complete environmental approval from the state of Brandenburg is still pending. Conservationists and residents fear negative consequences for the environment.
► Court rejects tree felling application – Tesla is allowed to continue clearing!
► Six weeks behind schedule – what’s next for Tesla?
The Frankfurt (Oder) administrative court previously ruled that Tesla may continue to clear forest on its site and rejected an urgent application from the environmental associations for a temporary clearing stop (VG 5 L 602/20). The associations are against the early approval of the clearing of almost 83 hectares of forest on the site on which the Tesla factory is being built. The court ruled that the approval of the early start of the tree felling work was legal and that the weighing of the interests of nature conservation law by the Brandenburg State Office for the Environment was not objectionable.
On Tuesday, the administrative court initially stopped the preliminary approval for the clearing in an urgent procedure.
The nature conservation associations are primarily concerned with protecting species. They doubt that the animals were relocated from the forest area as intended. In their urgent application, they had argued primarily that there had been violations of an access ban in species protection law for the strictly protected sand lizards and smooth snakes. “The administrative court did not adequately appreciate our submitted reports in the protection of species,” said Michael Ganschow, state manager of the Brandenburg Green League, on Thursday of the German press agency.
The Brandenburg State Office for the Environment approved the clearing on Monday a week ago. According to the information, Tesla needs the site for pipelines and as a storage facility. There had been a dispute over the trees last winter.
Final environmental approval is still pending
After the State Environment Agency approved the early start of felling of around 90 hectares of forest, the Brandenburg Green League and the Association for Landscape Management and Species Protection in Bavaria wanted to stop this with urgent applications to the Frankfurt (Oder) administrative court. They didn’t have any success with that at the time. The OVG Berlin-Brandenburg then initially stopped the tree felling until it rejected the urgent applications of the environmental associations in a final decision. This enabled Tesla to continue cutting trees before the start of the growing season.
When the final environmental approval for the Tesla factory will come is not yet clear. A hearing in the autumn of critics who had raised objections was finally evaluated. Tesla boss Elon Musk also wants to make the future plant the world’s largest battery factory.