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Zoo licence

To run a zoo in England, Scotland and Wales, you need a licence from the local authority.

Before you apply

Read the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 and the Secretary of State's standards of modern zoo practice for an overview of the conditions of the licence.

At least 2 months before you apply for a licence, give notice in writing to us of your intention to make the application.

Contact us to give notice of your intention to operate a zoo

You should also publish notice of this intention in a local newspaper and a national newspaper and display a copy of that notice at the site where you intend to run a zoo.

The notice must identify the location of the zoo and state that the application notice to the local authority is available for public comment.

How to apply

Contact us to apply for a zoo licence

Before granting or refusing the licence, we will:

  • make arrangements for an inspection to be carried out (we will give you 28 days' notice of the inspection)
  • consider the reports from the inspection of your site
  • ask you about any conditions that you think should be attached to your licence
  • consider whether the zoo would affect the health or safety of people living near it
  • make sure appropriate conservation measures would be taken
  • check the accommodation, staffing and management are suitable for the proper care and wellbeing of the animals
  • check that no one involved in the application has ever been convicted of any offence involving the ill-treatment of animals

What happens next?

Tacit consent

Tacit consent does not apply in respect of these applications. 

Tacit consent means that if we have not dealt with licence applications within the target period then the application can be deemed to have been granted or approved. 

It is in the public interest that we process your application before it can be granted. 

If you have not heard from us within 10 working days, contact us on 01642 524802 or


If we refuse your application, you may be able to appeal this decision to the Magistrates' Court or First-Tier Tribunal.

Full details will be included in any refusal notice.


Renew or change your zoo licence

If you would like to: 

  • renew your zoo licence (you should apply to renew your licence no later than 6 months before your current licence expires)
  • tell us about a change to your licence

Contact us to renew or change your licence


Contact us

Contact the Licensing Team for advice on any licence or to make a complaint about a licensed business.

Phone: 01642 524802