About the zoo licence

About the zoo licence

You’ll need a zoo licence if you’ll be displaying wild animals to the public for at least 7 days a year, in any place that’s not a circus or pet shop.

To get a licence your zoo must:

  • help educate people about biodiversity
  • be suitable for the types of animals you’re keeping
  • have a high standard of animal care
  • do as much as possible to stop any animals escaping
  • stop pests and vermin getting into the zoo

Before you apply

You should read the guidance notes before making the application.

At least 2 months before you apply for a licence to run a zoo you must:

  • give notice in writing to the council that you intend to apply
  • publish notice that you intend to run a zoo in one local newspaper in that area and one national newspaper
  • exhibit a copy of the notice at the site of the proposed zoo

Notice of Intention to apply for a licence to run a Zoo

After the two-month notice period, you can submit your application for a zoo licence. You'll need to send us your:

  • application form for a licence to run a zoo
  • plan of the premises
  • evidence that you have, or do not need planning permission to operate a zoo
  • copies of any relevant qualifications you have in the care and management of animals
  • copies of the notices of application published in the local and national press, and displayed at the site.
  • licence fees

You can scan documents if you do not have electronic copies. You must make sure the information is readable.

You can apply and pay online or by post. You must include all supporting information.

How much it costs

The cost of a zoo licence is in two parts. 

Part A costs £1,400 and covers the cost of the application. You must pay this when you apply. 

Part B costs £131 and covers any extra costs of granting the licence. You must pay this if we grant the licence. 

After you have applied for a zoo licence 

We will let you know that we have received your application within 3 working days and tell you what to do next.

When we look at your application, we may contact other authorities, such as:

  • the police
  • fire authority
  • veterinary officer
  • other council departments