Zoo Licence Application 

Please read information below before completing the application.


The fee is £425.00 and is payable in advance.  (Please note, Vet fees will also be chargeable).

What does the law require?

You need a licence from the local authority to operate a zoo where wild animals are kept for exhibition (other than a circus or pet shop) to which members of the public have access, with or without a charge for admission, on seven days or more in any period of twelve consecutive months.

What do I need to consider?

We may refuse to grant you a licence if we are:

  • satisfied that the establishment or continuance of the zoo would injuriously affect the health and safety of persons living in the neighbourhood or seriously affect the preservation of law & order;
  • not satisfied with the conservation measures will be implemented in a satisfactory manner;
  • not satisfied with the standards of accommodation, staffing or management;
  • satisfied that the applicant or corporate body or director etc. or a keeper have been convicted under legislation involving the ill-treatment of animals; or
  • not satisfied that appropriate planning permissions have been acquired (although we may grant the licence but suspend it until we are satisfied).

How will you deal with my application?

You must give us notice at least two months in advance of your intention to apply for a licence. You must place a notice in a local and national newspaper as well as a notice at the site of the proposed zoo stating that the notice to the local authority can be inspected by the public at the local authority's office. Your notice must refer to the conservation measures required by the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 as amended in 2003.

Your notice must specify the situation of the zoo and refer to:

  • the kinds of animals (in taxonomic category), the approximate numbers, accommodation etc.
  • approximate numbers and categories of staff
  • approximate numbers of visitors and vehicles
  • approximate position and number of access points

We will need to arrange for an inspection of your proposed site by an approved person.

If your application is deemed non-contentious, we should be able to grant your licence without referring the decision to the Licensing Committee. 'Non-contentious' means any application which has not resulted in any objections or representations of a serious nature, and where is no conflict with council policy. Contentious applications will be determined by the Licensing Board.

We will attach conditions to any licence we grant or renew and we may take action to ensure that you comply with those conditions.

When will a decision be made?

We aim to make a decision on your application within 90 calendar days of you submitting to us all the documentation we require. This assumes that your application is not contentious. Your application will take longer to process if it becomes contentious (for example, if we receive objections or representations) and if that is the case we will keep you informed of the revised timescale.

What happens if you don't make a decision within the target date?

'Tacit authorisation' does not apply because there is an overriding reason relating to the public interest, namely the need to protect public safety and the health of animals. Therefore if you have still not received a decision after the target times has expired, your authorisation is not granted automatically. In such a situation, we will get in touch with you to let you know what happens next.

Please note that you must not carry on the activity for which you have applied for a licence unless or until you have been granted a licence.

What can I do if I'm not satisfied?

If you are unhappy with the way we have processed your application please contact us.

How does the Council handle objections and representations?

Find out more about objections and representations