Tree valuation

Trees are difficult to reliably value because their many benefits such as visual amenity, contribution to human wellbeing and wildlife habitat, cannot be easily measured. Tricky as it may be, sometimes an assessment of tree value is essential to resolve a legal conflict or settle an insurance claim for damage.

Jeremy Barrell was a founder member of the UK Regional Plant Appraiser Group and was a member of the recent Helliwell Amenity Valuation Review

Over the last 50 years, the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers (CTLA) has developed an approach to tree valuation that is based on internationally recognised valuation principles and we use this as a starting point for all our tree valuations. From single trees up to larger groups and woodlands, CTLA has the pedigree to deliver reliable and defensible valuations, suitably robust to withstand the inevitable legal and insurance scrutiny.

On New Year’s Eve 1999, a severe wind-storm hit northern Europe, causing extensive tree loss at Disneyland Paris, France. We were appointed as tree advisor to the Insurer, tasked with assessing the value of the damage and were present throughout the negotiations that ended with an amicable settlement in April 2000. Over 7,000 individual trees within the Park boundaries were damaged, along with extensive damage to woodland surrounding the satellite residential complex at Davey Crockett Ranch. We assessed the extent of the damage, the cost of the clean up and the cost of replacement trees. We oversaw and collated the damage inventory, and devised and directed the mitigation strategy that resulted in the Park opening for business at the start of the season.

In 2002, a similar wind event occurred in Mallorca, which resulted in severe damage to trees that formed an essential part of the landscaping at a golf and spa complex. Again, we were appointed as tree advisor to the Insurer, tasked with assessing the value of the damage and devising a mitigation strategy.

Boundary disputes are common situations where tree valuation is necessary. In the most extreme cases, tree are removed and the legal disputes that follow frequently require a valuation of the trees that have been lost and what it will cost to replace their screening function. We are regularly involved in legal actions where trees have been unlawfully removed and our valuations have resulted in settlements in excess of £20,000.

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