The citizens of the Lower Bavarian town of Straßkirchen have decided on a large BMW battery plant. A citizens’ initiative against the construction, which would destroy around 100 hectares of fields, failed.
The citizens of Straßkirchen in Lower Bavaria have cleared the way for a large battery factory owned by the car manufacturer BMW, in which 600,000 high-voltage batteries for electric cars are to be assembled every year. In a referendum, a clear majority decided to support the location of the factory, as the community announced.
The citizens’ initiative “Livable Gäuboden” forced the decision. The local council had previously clearly supported the settlement, which is expected to create 3,200 jobs.
According to the preliminary results, the council’s request in favor of the settlement received 75.3 percent yes votes and 24.7 percent no votes. The citizens’ initiative, which was directed against the factory, only received 29.6 percent yes votes and 70.4 percent no votes. The two questions were asked separately. According to the municipality, voter turnout was 76.9 percent.
Central for electric car production
For BMW, the factory, which is now to be built on an area that belongs to Straßkirchen and the neighboring town of Irlbach, is of central importance for ramping up electric car production. The vehicle factories in Dingolfing, 40 kilometers away, as well as Regensburg and Munich will be supplied from there. The location is close to the A3 and A92 motorways. The large, heavy batteries could therefore be transported directly to the car factories using electric trucks; additional warehouses would be unnecessary.
If the citizens had decided against the factory, the Munich car manufacturer said it would probably have switched to a location outside Bavaria. Now the car manufacturer was pleased: “The people in Straßkirchen have voted for a shared future with the BMW Group. We can do that “Here in Bavaria, we are taking advantage of the opportunities that the transformation to electromobility offers,” said Production Director Milan Nedeljković. His board colleague Ilka Horstmeier spoke of an “important signal for Germany as a whole as a business location”.
Söder: “Good signal for the region”
Large sections of politics had also spoken out in favor of the work in the run-up to the vote. Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) called the result on X (formerly Twitter) “a good signal for the region and Bavaria as a business location”.
Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger (Free Voters) thanked the citizens for “making the right choice”. “Bavaria remains a car-friendly country.” Of course it hurts him that “valuable land” is being lost, but in the end the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
The spokesman for the “Livable Gäuboden” initiative, Thomas Spötzl, expressed disappointment. However, the voter turnout was extremely high, he told the German Press Agency. This shows that you have “hit a nerve” and attracted attention. The factory’s opponents had warned, among other things, of additional traffic, the loss of valuable arable land and a worsening of the shortage of skilled workers in local companies due to competition from new jobs at BMW. (dpa)
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