Licences and permits - Zoo licence

Type of licence
Animal licensing
Contact us
Tel: 01925 443322
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