Apply for or renew a zoo licence

You’ll need a zoo licence if you are considering opening a zoo.

This is to make sure that the animals are kept somewhere suitable which allows them to behave in the most natural way possible.

A zoo licence costs £969 and will last for 4 years initially, and upon renewal for 6 years.

Before you apply

Submit an intention to make an application to us

You’ll need to give us notice in writing of your intention to make an application for a zoo licence at least 2 months before making your application.

You must give details about:

  • where the zoo will be
  • what kind of animals you’re going to keep and how many
  • how you’ll house and care for the animals
  • staff numbers and what they’ll be doing
  • expected visitor and vehicle numbers
  • zoo entrance and exit points
  • how you’ll meet the conservation conditions

Publish your intention in a newspaper

You must also publish the notice of your intention in one local newspaper and one national newspaper and display a copy of the intention at least 2 months before making the application.

It must:

  • identify the location of the zoo
  • state that the notice is available to be inspected at the council offices

How to apply

You can apply online for a zoo licence.

Inspections are carried out by a state vet throughout the duration of the licence.

You can view the legislation relating to the licence.

Apply now

Pay the fee

Do not send cash or cheques. We'll contact you for payment when we have verified your application.

Zoo inspection

We will carry out an inspection of the premises, giving at least 28 days’ notice. You may have to pay a fee for this.

The council may apply conditions to your licence, such as getting insurance for any damage caused by the animals.

You’ll be inspected regularly to make sure you’re carrying out these conditions.

You’ll also need to make sure you keep records on:

  • animal health
  • number and species
  • acquisitions
  • births and deaths (with causes)
  • disposals and escapes

Why we may refuse a licence

We will not grant the licence if we:

  • feel that the zoo would adversely affect the health or safety of people living near it
  • feel the zoo would affect the preservation of law and order
  • are not satisfied that appropriate conservation measures would be satisfactorily implemented

If you’ve not heard from us

If we’ve not acknowledged receipt of your application or renewal, you can email us at [email protected].

Your licence must be granted before you can run your zoo.


If you are refused a licence, you may appeal to a magistrates' court within 28 days from the date on which you receive written notification of the refusal.

A licence holder may appeal to a magistrates' court about:

  • any condition attached to a licence or any variation or cancellation of a condition
  • the refusal to approve the transfer of a licence
  • a zoo closure direction
  • enforcement steps relating to any unmet condition

Renewing a zoo licence

You can renew a zoo licence online.

It costs £991 and is valid for 6 years.

Applications to renew a licence will be considered no later than 6 months before the expiry of the existing licence, unless we allow a shorter time period.

Contact the animal licensing team

If you want to discuss your application or make changes to it, email [email protected].