Court halts work on Tesla's German factory after complaints from environmental campaigners

В Германии ополчились на завод Tesla рядом с заповедником

A German court has temporarily halted the site preparation for Tesla Inc.'s first electric auto factory in Europe. The court injunction is temporary, and there'll be further hearings within the next few weeks to decide whether the factory can go ahead.

To much fanfare, Tesla's boss Elon Musk announced plans last November to build a European facility known as a "gigafactory" in Grünheide, in the eastern state of Brandenburg.

Planning permission has not yet been granted to build the Gigafactory, however, meaning USA entrepreneur Elon Musk's company is preparing the ground at its own risk.

Protesters say the factory is a threat to local wildlife and water supplies. Thursday, permission was granted-despite an emergency appeal made by environmental groups-to start work at the site at its own risk, with the condition that a number of final approvals still hadn't been issued.

This has involved clearing about 91 hectares (225 acres) of forest and the felling of thousands of trees - something that outraged an alliance of environmentalists called the Green League.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the plans for the 300-hectare site in November previous year, and Tesla says on its website it aims to begin production in 2021.

"The Tesla plant has not yet been approved, and there is a legal requirement for an early release of the building specifications which clearly hasn't been met in this case", said Dirk Tessmer, the lawyer for Grüne Liga who brought the case, in a statement. Tesla has ambitions to produce up to 500,000 cars a year at the factory, employing about 12,000 people.

According to one source, Tagesspiegel, Tesla will need to relocate some wildlife at the site, including ants, reptiles, and bats, and hang up 400 nesting boxes for birds and their March mating season.

Last month, German officials said 187 pounds of World War II ammunition had been found at the site as Tesla began clearing it.

The factory would be its fourth, after two in the USA and a third in Shanghai, China, which began producing cars earlier this year.

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