Zoo licences

Zoos are regulated by the council under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.  The council works in close partnership with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on all aspects of zoo licensing.

The licensing of zoos is a specialist field and the regulations are complex.  If you are thinking of setting up a zoo, it is recommended that you contact a specialist officer first for further advice and guidance.

An application cannot be considered unless at least two months notice has been given prior to the application – plus publication of details in a local and national newspaper as well as a notice placed at the location.

The authority must consult the police, fire authority, and governing body of any national institute concerned with zoos, any adjoining authority – if the zoo overlaps the area of another authority – and any person wishing to object on grounds of alleged injurious effect on the health or safety of persons living in the area.

The authority must arrange an inspection by a consultant inspector from the list of suitable inspectors nominated by the Secretary of State.

Download a document from DEFRA for more information about zoo licensing.

Copies of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 can be obtained from Office of Public Sector Information, or a copy can be inspected at the council offices where you may also obtain details of the fee, an application form and further help or advice.

You can also download a copy of the application form or apply online through the Businesslink website.uk