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Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) often employ complex techniques and cross-layer optimisations to ensure energy efficiency and robustness in WSNs. In this work, the authors present a simple technique of information valuation and costing to utilise bandwidth and energy resources of co-operative WSNs efficiently. This system allows distributed wireless sensor nodes that are operating independently of each other to assess their information content and pre-assign a single-value parameter to the data value before transmission. This parameter is then compared with a single-cost parameter to assess whether it is of benefit for the network to receive the message. The authors show that this is an efficient process in sensor networks, which have common sensing parameters. The process shows that the system can be used in monitoring correlated sources in distributed WSNs.