Car factory tree protest continues in the face of storm

BORN - Activisten overhandigen voedselpakketten aan politieagenten in het Sterrebos. Actievoerders hebben het terrein bezet naast autofabriek VDL Nedcar bij Born (Limburg). De actie werd georganiseerd om het bos te beschermen tegen de geplande kap door autofabriek VDL Nedcar. ANP MARCEL VAN HOORN
One of the tree protestors. Photo: Marcel van Hoorn ANP

The Sterrebos area of woodland in Born, Limburg was fenced off at the weekend to stop more people from joining the protest against VDL Nedcar’s plan to chop down over 100 trees to make room for a new production area.

Some fifteen people have been occupying trees in the seven hectare wood since Friday. The public prosecutor’s office said 19 protesters on the ground had been arrested so far. They have since been let go but will have to appear in court at a later date.

The Council of State has already decided that Nedcar can continue its preparations to clear the site but whether or not the around 160 trees will have to go will be the subject of a case brought by environmentalists in the next few days.

‘Chopping down ancient woods is not what we do now. That only happens in the Amazon,’ Dirkjan van der Hoven, spokesman for environmental organisation De Groene Sporenwolf (DGS) told the Volkskrant.

‘This is not a protest against the presence of the factory,’ a protester at the scene told the paper on Sunday. ‘But why extend here? They haven’t looked at the alternatives, why can’t it be put somewhere else?’


The economic pressure on the factory to extend has been mounting.  VDL Nedcar is currently vying with Bristol in Britain for the contract for two new electric car production lines with US manufacturer Rivian after an earlier deal with Canoo fell through.

According to VDL CEO Wim van der Leegte, Nedcar is ‘sustainable’ and the company will ‘take nature compensatory measures’ and the extension would make the around 12,000 jobs at Nedcar ‘future proof’.

Ella de Beuk of action group Save the Sterrebos said the protesters plan to stay in the trees until February 23 or even until the start of the breeding season in March.

Storm Corrie, which has been predicted for today, may make things too dangerous but five of the remaining activists have said they are going to stay put.

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