BERLIN (NEWSnet/AP) — A council in Germany approved a plan by carmaker Tesla to expand the grounds of its first plant in Europe.

Councilors in the Gruenheide municipality near Berlin voted 11-6 Thursday in favor of the plan, news agency dpa reported. The proposal was revised to involve the felling of fewer trees than expected.

Tesla wants to add a freight depot and logistical space to its factory, which opened in 2022.

In a non-binding vote in mid-February, residents of Gruenheide rejected Tesla’s initial proposal, which would have meant clearing more than 247 acres of trees. Activists have been protesting near the plant over concerns about deforestation. “Stop Tesla,” a group backing the protest, said it is disappointed by the council's decision and vowed to continue demonstrating.

The state government in Brandenburg welcomed the council decision. Jörg Steinbach, regional economy minister, described it as “a strong signal for the future development of Gruenheide and Tesla.”

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