Epping Forest District Council`s Tree and Landscape Officer Chris Neilan was featured in a major article in The Observer magazine on Sunday 12 October 2008. The subject was his work on Capital Asset Value for Amenity Trees (CAVAT), a tree value system intended to help Councils manage their tree stock better and to be able to demonstrate that they are doing so.
CAVAT came to the attention of Lucy Siegle, a journalist from the BBC and The Observer, who interviewed Chris in Berkeley Square in Central London where the (so far) most valuable tree in Britain stands. Earlier in the summer this tree also featured in a number of stories in the national press, including on the front page of The Times. It has been calculated to have a CAVAT value of £750,000. A picture of Chris measuring the tree accompanies the interview.
For comparison, an average street tree in Epping would be worth around £5,500 and the most valuable tree in the District so far surveyed would be worth £250,000. This stands by the green, south of St John`s Church in Epping. Chris has been working on CAVAT for the last ten years, largely in his own time but with the support of John Preston, Director of Planning and Economic Development.