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The licensing of zoos is a specialist and complex field and the regulations are complex. If you are thinking of setting up a zoo, it is recommended that you contact a specialist officer first for advice and guidance on the details.

We cannot consider an application unless at least two months notice of the application has been given, plus publication of details in a local and national newspaper and a notice placed at the potential zoo site.

We must consult the Police, Fire Authority, governing body of any national institute concerned with zoos, adjoining authority if the zoo overlaps the area of that authority and any person wishing to object on grounds of alleged injurious effect on the health or safety of persons living in the area. We must also arrange an inspection by a consultant inspector from the list of suitable inspectors nominated by the Secretary of State.

To run a zoo you require a licence from the local authority. The licence is subject to the fee (please contact the licensing service) and conditions.

Am I eligible? 

At lease two months before making the application for a licence the applicant must give notice in writing to the authority of their intention to apply.

The notice must identify:

  • The zoo's location
  • The types of animals and numbers of each group kept for exhibition on the premises and arrangements for accommodation, maintenance and well-being
  • Approximate numbers and categories of staff to be employed
  • Approximate number of visitors and vehicles which will be provided for and number and position of accesses to the premises
  • How required conservation measures will be put in place.

At least two months prior to making the application, the applicant must publish notice of that intention in a local newspaper and one national newspaper and place a copy at the premises. The notice must identify the location of the zoo, and state that the application notice to the local authority is available for inspection at the authorities offices.

Regulation summary 

Fore mor information and advice please read the zoo licensing regulations.

How will my application be evaluated?

Once your application form and fee has been received The Council will take into account any representation made by or on behalf of the:

  • Applicant
  • Police
  • Appropriate authority – either the enforcing authority or relevant authority in whose area the zoo is situated
  • Governing body of any national institution concerned with the operation of zoos
  • The planning authority for the area
  • Any person alleging the zoo would affect the health or safety of people living in the area or near it
  • Any other person whose representations might show grounds on which the authority has power or duty to refuse to grant the licence.

Apply online  

Application form

To request an application form, please contact us.

What happens next 

Before granting or refusing to grant a licence the authority shall consider any inspectors reports based on an inspection of the zoo, consult the applicant about conditions they propose should be attached to the licence and arrange for an inspection giving 28 days notice. The authority will not grant a licence if they feel the zoo would adversely affect the health or safety of people living near it, or seriously affect the preservation of law and order or if they are not satisfied that appropriate conservation measures would be satisfactorily implemented.

The application may also be refused if the:

  • Local authority is not satisfied that accommodation staffing or management standards are suitable for the proper care and well-being of the animals or for the proper conduct of the zoo
  • Applicant or company, the company directors, managers, secretaries or similar officers or zoo keeper has been convicted of any offence involving ill-treatment of animals.

Applications to renew the licence will be considered no later than six months before the expiry of the existing licence. The Secretary of State, after consulting the local authority, may direct them to attach conditions to the licence. The local authority may advise the Secretary of State that because of the small number of animals to be kept or the small number of the kind of animal kept there, a direction should be made that a licence is not required.

What if my application is refused 

Please contact the licensing service in the first instance. An appeal against the grant can be made to the local Magistrates Court.

Consumer complaints 

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first point of contact should be made with the service provider (The Council). If this has not worked and you are located in the UK then contact Consumer Direct or if outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.


There are no public registers for this licence.



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