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UK arborists are looking at a US system that could lead to amenity trees being valued more credibly. Regional Plant Appraisal Committee chairman Adam Hollis said the 40-year-old industry standard Helliwell System has “no real basis in reality”. He claimed that many tree officers want it replaced. Tree officers and contractors attended a seminar in Bath, organised by the Consulting Arborist Society, to assess the Council for Tree and Landscape Appraisal (CTLA) method for monetary valuation of trees. Scott Cullen of the American Society of Consulting Arborists told the meeting: “The CTLA system should minimise grossly divergent valuations and give appraisers the tools to explain and justify divergent opinions when they do occur.” Hollis said an improved system could lead to fewer at-risk street trees being felled because insurers would recognise their value. He added that the system is workable because it is based on real nursery-stock costs rather than arbitrary values. It is credible because it is objective, not based on aesthetic judgements, and it is in line with international codes. Monetary values placed on trees could help recompense tree owners who have experienced arboreal damage through acts such as vandalism or development. Arboricultural Association director Nick Eden said: “I’ve no intention of continuing to push Helliwell if something better comes along. It makes sense for the industry to agree which method to use. Whether or not CTLA will supersede Helliwell is up to the industry.” See /wws/info/ctla

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