Licences and permits - Zoo licence

Changes to legislation
The law governing the licensing of animal welfare establishments is changing from the 1 October 2018.

This has been done in order to bring the licensing regime up to date with local government regulation and improving animal care standards and make it compatible with the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Regulations - Animal Welfare 2018 (licensing of activities involving animals) and covers:
- Procedural guidance for animal activity licensing 2018
- Breeding dogs
- Boarding in kennels for dogs
- Providing home boarding for dogs
- Providing day care for dogs
- Providing boarding for cats
- Conditions for selling animals as pets (Pet Shops)
- Conditions for keeping or training animals for exhibition
- Conditions for hiring out horses

It's important that Licence holders understand the Guidance relevant to their business but as a start your attention is drawn to the following key changes:

- Licences can be issued for one, two or three years.
- The fees will need to be recalculated and based on “reasonable anticipated costs” of the process.
- Protection is provided for licences in the event of the death of the licence holder.
- Specific training qualifications have been introduced for both businesses and inspectors.
- A performance rating system is to be introduced and linked to the period of the licence.
- Licenses can be varied, suspended or revoked.
- An appeals process is established for both alterations to the licence and the performance rating.
- Emphasis is put on the suitability of the environment for the particular needs of the animal.
- Emphasis for animal welfare is put on the management arrangements.
- Isolation facilities must be adequate and may be an arrangement with the attending vet and confirmed in writing.
- Arrangements for suitable transport are included.
- Where the business has a web site it must display the licence holder's name and the licence number.
- Service of documents can be made by email to the last known email address of the licence holder.
- We can't issue a licence in any circumstances other than those described in the regulations.

Specific licence conditions will be published prior to the new legislation coming into force on 1 October 2018.

More info:
Animal welfare FAQs
Type of licence
Animal licensing
Contact us
Tel: 01925 442517
You need a licence to run a zoo.
A zoo is a place where wild animals are kept and displayed to the public for at least 7 days a year. Circuses and pet shops are not zoos.

A zoo licence is valid for 4 years upon your initial application and then for 6 years thereafter.
Who can apply?
Anyone who intends to keep and display animals to the public for at least 7 days of the year.
How to apply
Step 1: Notify us of intention to apply

You must let us know that you want to make an application at least 2 months before you apply.

You must give details about:

- the zoo's location
- the types of animals and how many
- how you’ll keep and feed them
- the number of staff you will have
- the number of people you expect to visit, including their cars
- the entrance and exit areas
- how you will maintain the zoo

You must also publish a notice in one local newspaper and one national newspaper and display a copy of that notice. In the notice, you must state that the application notice to the council is available to be inspected at council offices.

How we make the licensing decision

When considering an application, we consider any objections from:

- you
- the chief officer of police of the zoo area
- any national zoo governing body
- anyone who says the zoo would affect the health or safety of those living near it
- any other person who can show us why the licence should not be granted

We will also consider any inspectors' reports based on their inspection of the zoo, consult you about any conditions they propose should be attached to the licence and make arrangements for an inspection to be carried out. We will give you at least 28 days’ notice of the inspection.

We will not grant the licence if:

- the zoo would affect the health or safety of people living near it
- we are not satisfied that you will follow appropriate conservation measures
- we are not satisfied that the animals’ wellbeing won’t be affected
- you or someone on your staff has been convicted of an animal welfare offence
Fees and charges
Apply for a new application - GOV.UK
Apply for notification of interest - GOV.UK
Renew your licence - GOV.UK
Download WBC application forms and guidance