Grünheide votes to expand Tesla factory

Tesla can expand its factory in Grünheide to include a freight depot. The decision of the municipal representatives in favour of the car manufacturer was clearer than previously expected. However, the vote was accompanied by aggressive protests. Tesla has also significantly scaled back plans.

Image: Tesla

After months of conflict and, most recently, escalating demonstrations, the Grünheide municipal parliament has cleared the way for the expansion of the Tesla plant. The car factory can now be extended to the east by 118 hectares for a goods station. This will involve clearing 50 hectares of forest. In future, the new vehicles will be transported via the new goods station to the east of the factory. Until now, this has been done by lorry. The municipality expects the railway station to significantly reduce traffic. Environmental organisations, on the other hand, see risks for the environment. Critics of the plant expansion were disappointed by the decision and referred to the public consultation in February, in which 62.1 per cent of participants voted against the expansion. However, this procedure was not legally binding for the municipal representatives. The citizens’ initiatives now want to continue to fight against the expansion of the Tesla plant in Grünheide.

The eagerly awaited vote ultimately turned out to be clearer than expected. According to consistent media reports, eleven municipal representatives voted in favour of the development plan and six against it. Two representatives abstained. At the request of the right-wing political party AfD, the vote was not secret, but by roll call. The municipal parliament had previously tightened up the development plan at the last minute. At the request of the citizens’ alliance, it was stipulated that the remaining forest on the site of the future freight depot must remain in the landscape conservation area and therefore the property of the state forestry organisation.

The Free Voter party had tabled the corresponding motion, arguing that the forest should be secured against the “salami-slicing tactics of Tesla”, including against subsequent clearing. The meeting once again revealed how divided Grünheide still is over the Tesla plant. The atmosphere was tense, many reporters reported. There was talk of aggressive heckling. Some community representatives even complained about the threatening and stressful atmosphere.

The decision day in Grünheide was once again accompanied by protests. The police secured the event. In contrast to the Ascension weekend, it at least remained peaceful. Tesla had previously significantly scaled back the plant expansion. The planned logistics areas were also cancelled. The same applies to the planned daycare centre. Instead of 100 out of 118 hectares, as originally planned, 50 hectares of forest are to be cleared. 70 hectares will remain. (both in German)


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