Page last updated at 20:17 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 21:17 UK

Most expensive London tree found

Victorian plane tree in Berkeley Square, Mayfair
Cuttings from the tree will be planted in Westminster parks

A tree in central London has been named as the city's most expensive tree after being valued at 750,000.

The Victorian plane in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, was assessed according to its size, health, history and how many people live nearby.

Under a local authority plan insurers must consider a tree's value when deciding whether it should be cut down.

Trees are often felled after being blamed for subsidence, when other factors may be responsible.

Link proved

The new valuation system used by Westminster City Council will now be implemented nationwide.

Under the system, the link between high value trees and subsidence must be proved before they can be felled.

Berkeley Square contains 31 precious trees, all of which are at least 200 years old.

Planted in 1789, the plane tree has a circumference of 6ft (1.8m).

The council's arboricultural manager Paul Akers said cuttings from the "priceless" plane tree would be grown and planted in Westminster parks.


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