23 April 2008

Why Dear Trees Really Are Dear

A year ago, I wrote about the plight of urban trees. At the time, I never imagined we'd have a solution as far-sighted as this:

A plane tree in central London has been valued at £750,000 under a new system that puts a "price" on trees. How?

A six-foot-wide plane in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, is thought to be the UK's most valuable tree.

Large, mature, city trees like this one are being blamed - sometimes wrongly and often fatally - for damage to neighbouring properties.

But it is hoped a new valuation system will make it harder for "expensive" trees to be felled due to doubtful suspicions they are to blame for subsidence.


Putting a price on a tree changes people's attitudes and if developers think in financial terms, then a community asset must be valued in the same currency, he says.

So if a developer is in court for illegally destroying a tree, then the fine could be a reflection of the tree's value, says Mr Stokes. Or if a new development replaces a stock of trees then the builder could contribute to the community a sum equal to the value of that lost stock.

Brilliant. Now, if we could only apply that to all the rest - air, water, animals, plants....

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