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Zoo licence

How to apply for a zoo licence, and information on conditions

How to apply

If animals are kept for display to the public for more than 7 days in a year, a zoo licence is needed (under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981).

Before you apply you must:

  • notify us in writing (a notice of intention) of applying for a zoo licence (two months before applying)
  • put a public notice in a local paper, a national newspaper and on the premises
  • have received planning permission for the zoo (for further information please see our planning pages)

Once the two months has expired, you can officially apply. Please complete our online application form and send us a stock list of all the animals to be kept. Fee is £741.00.

Apply for a zoo licence

How to renew

You must apply 6 months before expiry. Please complete our online application form and send us a stock list of all the animals to be kept. Fee is £741.00.

Renew your zoo licence

What happens next?

We will:

  • consult with the police, fire service and a specialist authority for the operation of zoos
  • visit you, with an animal specialist, to check the premises is suitable to keep the animals concerned

If there are no issues we will issue a licence for four years. After the four years, you'll need to renew this. If successful your next licence will be for six years (with an inspection after three years).

Grounds for refusal

If we refuse your application, it's likely to be on the following grounds:

  • the veterinary report raised issues with animal welfare, or the health and safety of the people living nearby
  • strong objections from those living nearby
  • you or any zoo keepers have been convicted of an offence related to ill-treatment of animals
  • planning permission has been refused for the premises


We may attach certain conditions to your licence, and we will tell you about these. The Secretary of State issues model conditions for all zoo licences. Please take a look at their conditions document at the bottom of this page.

Neighbourhood nuisance issues

We have a duty to investigate complaints of nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Even if you’ve had a licence or planning permission granted, if we find your premises to have issues like excessive noise, and odour, this could result in formal action being taken. For further advice, please contact

Further information

For further information please contact us, our contact details are below.