The UK’s largest pallet manufacturer – Scott Timber Group (STG) – is to invest more than £250,000 in the installation of two new kilns before the end of the year.

The move is in response to legislation demanding the heat or chemical treatment of timber export packaging destined for the US, Canada and Mexico.

At its Rosyth base, the group claims to be operating one of only 20 kilns accredited by the Forestry Commission to carry out the necessary heat treatment process. It is now proposing to install a “high specification” kiln at its facility in Barry and another at one of its sites in the London area, thereby raising its total kilning capacity to an estimated 10,000 pallets per day.

The legislation coming into force on January 2 next year is intended to prevent the spread of disease through pests. According to STG, heat-treated timber packaging will be allowed entry to the market only if it has been heated to 56 degrees for 30 minutes. New heat treatment regulations are already being operated by China and, in the coming months, “a further 118 countries around the world are expected to sign up to the International Phytosanitary Standard for Wood Packaging which specifies the same stringent measures”, it added.

&#8220We are taking early steps to prepare for the likely demand.”

Scott group business development director Alan Moir

Group business development director Alan Moir said: “We are taking early steps to prepare for the likely demand. Customers are being asked to indicate if they use wooden packaging materials to contain or carry their products to the North American market.”

With annual sales currently exceeding £35m, STG claims to be on course to achieve a target turnover of £50m by 2008.