Status: 26/09/2023, 21:24 p.m.
By: Dirk Walter
A field between Irlbach and Straßkirchen. BMW wants to build a battery factory here. © Armin Weigel/dpa/Archivbild
With a clear majority, the voters in Straßkirchen voted in favor of the construction of a BMW plant. From 2026, batteries for a new generation of electric vehicles are to be assembled there.
Straßkirchen – In the end, it was clearer than many had thought. Almost 75 percent of voters in Straßkirchen, a village near the Danube in the district of Straubing-Bogen, voted on Sunday for the construction of a BMW plant in the south of their municipality. In detail, 75.3 percent voted in favor of the BMW settlement, 24.7 percent against. On the other hand, the competing referendum of the citizens' initiative "Lebenswerter Gäuboden", which rejected the work, found only 29.6 percent supporters. 70.4 percent voted no. The voter turnout was extraordinarily high for a referendum: 77 percent!
Citizens have voted: BMW is allowed to build battery plant in Straßkirchen
"The winners are the municipalities of Irlbach and Straßkirchen, but also the district of Straubing-Bogen," said Strasskirchen's mayor Christian Hirtreiter (CSU) after the announcement of the final result in the town hall. Bavaria's Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) could also be seen there. "A good day for Lower Bavaria," was his comment.
The opponents of the plant had argued, among other things, that more than 100 hectares of the best arable land on the land of Straßkirchen and the neighboring community of Irlbach would be destroyed for the construction. The resulting jobs did not convince the opponents either: Every "high-quality" job at BMW means "a lack of manpower at other companies," it said. They received support from the Bund Naturschutz, which did not consider the possibilities for a space-saving variant to be exhausted. Strasskirchen's first mayor, Christian Hirtreiter (CSU), had clearly positioned himself in favour of the plant, as had the entire municipal council. BMW means jobs and prosperity for the entire region.
1600 jobs will be created, mainly BMW employees who are already employed will take over
BMW plans to supply the batteries to its plants in Dingolfing, Regensburg and Munich. Construction of the factory halls could start in 2024, with production scheduled to begin in 2026. Initially, 250,000 to 330,000 high-voltage batteries could be produced per year for a new generation of vehicles ("new class"). It has always been important for BMW to emphasize that it is not battery production in the true sense of the word, which consumes a lot of water, for example. Rather, it is an assembly plant: the individual parts of the 600-kilogram batteries are delivered and assembled in Straßkirchen.
In the first construction phase, 1600 jobs are to be created, but 70 percent of them will be filled by BMW employees already employed from the three plants in Munich, Regensburg and Dingolfing. So only some of the jobs are originally new jobs.
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