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We work with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on zoo licensing.

If you are thinking of setting up a zoo it is recommended you contact a specialist officer for advice and guidance.

How to apply for a licence

We cannot consider an application without at least two months notice.

Details of the application must be published in a local and national newspaper and a notice must be placed at the site.

If you would like to give notice of an application please fill out the zoo licence notification form (PDF/548KB/6 pages).

If you would like to apply for a zoo licence, please fill out the zoo licence application form (DOC/27KB/1 page).

There is an application fee of £506.50 (cheques made payable to SLDC) plus veterinary fees.

Once you have completed the application form, you should return it with any other relevant documentation and the licence fee to the licensing group.

How we reach a decision  

We must consult:

  • the police
  • the fire authority
  • the governing body of any national institute concerned with zoos
  • an adjoining authority if the zoo overlaps their area
  • anybody who objects on health and safety grounds

We must arrange an inspection by a consultant inspector from the list of suitable inspectors nominated by the secretary of state.

Zoo licensing conditions 

View the zoo licensing conditions (PDF/143KB/13 pages).

Current zoo applications

You can also view current zoo licence applications (PDF/7MB/16 pages).

A copy of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 can be viewed at South Lakeland House.