Last Updated: 16 October 2023

In relation to zoo licensing applications we receive, we work with Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

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

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

How to apply

If you would like to give notice of an application for a zoo licence you should fill in a zoo licence notification form (DOC 57KB / 6 pages).

If you would like to apply for a zoo licence you should fill in a zoo licence application form (DOC 112KB / 1 page).

Return the application form and the relevant documents to the licensing group, along with the correct fee:

Existing fees (2023/24):

  • zoo licence (grant): £548.73
  • zoo licence (transfer): £116.73
  • informal zoo inspection: £232.86

You will also have to pay the cost of inspections carried out by our authorised veterinary surgeon or practitioner.

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

Before the licence is issued we must consult with the following parties:

  • 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. They are chosen from the list of suitable inspectors which are nominated by the secretary of state.


An application to renew the zoo licence must be submitted to the licensing team prior to the end of the four year licence period.

If you would like to renew a zoo licence you should fill in a zoo licence renewal form (DOC 112KB / 2 pages).

You will also be required to pay the zoo licence renewal fee of £548.73.

If the renewal application is granted, a licence will be issued for six years and a periodical inspection will be done once every three years with an approved inspector. If any conditions are added as a result of the inspection a local authority officer will ensure that these conditions are adhered to.

A local authority officer will also complete an informal inspection every year.

Zoo licensing conditions 

Zoo licensing conditions (PDF 195KB / 16 pages)

Further information is available in The Zoo Licensing Act 1981