The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 came into effect on 1 October 2018.

The regulations unified and updated animal licensing for pet shops, animal boarding establishments, riding establishments, dog breeding and performing animals. These activities are now covered under a single licence known as the Animal Activity Licence, which are new nationally set conditions that will apply to each licensable activity.

Businesses will need to comply with these conditions:

Who can apply?

Anyone as long as you haven't been disqualified from:

  • keeping an animal boarding establishment
  • keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • keeping animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • owning, keeping, being involved in the keeping, or being entitled to control or influence the keeping of animals under the Animals Welfare Act 2006
  • dealing in animals, transporting or being involved in the transportation of animals under the Animals Welfare Act 2006
How to apply

These guidance documents contain extensive information on what will be required to meet the licence conditions and what steps can be taken to meet the highest animal welfare standards. You should ensure that you have read the relevant documentation before you apply for your licence. 

Please fully complete the application form and gather together all additional documents (as stated on the application form) that you need to submit at the same time as your application.

Once completed, please email it to

Please note - we can't accept incomplete applications forms or applications that aren't accompanied by all the required documents. 

Once we receive your complete application accompanied by the required documents, we'll contact you to take your first payment. Once we process this, your application will be considered against the standard assessment criteria, and we'll make arrangements for a site visit. Our officer carrying out the assessment will consider several factors relating to the business compliance history, complaints, animal welfare and management standards. The outcome will be used to determine the risk/star rating and duration of your licence. However, please be aware that we'll require the second payment before we grant a full licence.

Fees and charges

First payment: £249.34 on submission of the application and documentation. This covers our costs of handling your application, carrying out an inspection and determining whether or not we should grant a licence. 

Second payment:£175.93 on successful application. This covers the cost of issuing the licence and conducting an unannounced inspection during the licence term (as required by government guidance). The licence will only be issued after the second payment has been made.

Total fee: £259.73

Please note - the current fee structure is under review, any new fee's will come into force in April every year. All fees are calculated taking into account the statutory guidance, which stipulates a full cost recovery model. Should a veterinary surgeon visit be required to inspect your premise as part of the licensing process, you'll be expected to pay their fees in full.

Appeals and re-rating


You can request a re-inspection to re-evaluate an issued star rating using our Request for a Re-Inspection Visit form. You should outline the case for re-inspection and indicate the actions taken to improve compliance or welfare since the last rating inspection. Your supporting evidence should relate to the actions we previously advised your business to take to ensure a higher star rating.

Appeals to a risk rating

Your business can dispute the star rating we've awarded if you feel the score didn't reflect the animal welfare standards and risk levels at the time of the inspection. An appeal can be made using our Request for An Appeal form below.

We advise businesses to discuss their intention to appeal with our inspecting officer before submitting a formal written appeal. Our officer will explain how the rating was awarded, which may help resolve the need for a formal appeal. If you're still not satisfied with the risk rating score following an informal discussion with our inspecting officer, you can submit a formal appeal in writing to us.

Get in touch


Phone 01925 442658