Zoo licence

The Zoo Licensing Act 1981 defines a “Zoo” as an establishment where wild animals are kept for exhibition to the public other than for purposes of a circus and other than in a pet shop.  This Act applies to any Zoo to which members of the public have access, with or without a charge for admission, on any more than seven days in any period of twelve consecutive months.

To run a zoo in England, Scotland and Wales, you need a licence from the local authority. 

At least two months before making an application for a licence, the applicant must give notice in writing to the local authority of their intention to make the application. The notice must identify:

  • The zoo’s location
  • The types of animals and approximate number of each group kept for exhibition on the premises
  • The arrangements made for their accommodation, maintenance and well being
  • The approximate number and categories of staff employed or to be employed at the Zoo
  • The approximate number of visitors and motor vehicles for which accommodation is to be provided for
  • The approximate number and position of the means of access provided or to be provided to the premises
  • How required conservation measures will be implemented at the Zoo

At least two months before making the application, the applicant must also publish notice of that intention in one local newspaper and one national newspaper and exhibit a copy of that notice.  The notice must identify the location of the zoo and state that the application notice to the local authority is available to be inspected at the local authority offices.  A copy of this notice must also be placed at the site for easy viewing and with the local authority for public comment.

Once this period has lapsed, an application form can be submitted along with the current fee.

An application form is available from the Licensing Department.  This fee does not cover veterinary inspection charges which will be charged at a later date.


Last Updated on Wednesday, August 2, 2023

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