A 'blue plaque' scheme for London's most significant trees could be introduced next year.

Members of the London Tree Forum will today discuss proposals to identify outstanding trees from the 6 million in public and private ownership around the city.

Premium trees would be chosen by means of a points system based on age, size, historical links, location and the rarity of the species. Up to 1,000 trees could be awarded the designation.

A consultation document to be debated at today's meeting suggests the scheme could replicate that for blue plaques used to identify some of London's more significant buildings.

It states: 'Blue plaques are widely recognised by all Londoners and vistors alike as indicating important locations. Important trees can be indicated in a similar manner.'

The report suggests an equivalent green plaque be placed in ground near the base of a tree for identification.

If the proposals are approved the first premium trees would be selected by the forum next year, with London boroughs nominating their 'top five' for consideration.

The scheme could then be broadened to include trees deemed to be less significant but important at a local level, and the idea could also be introduced nationally.

Similar classification systems already operate in other countries including America, Australia, Germany and Switzerland - although those are more concerned in assigning a financial value.

The most similar is in New York where a leaflet shows the location of the city's best trees.

Premium trees would have no formal protection by law, although the report notes that protection orders could be awarded to those threatened with felling.

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