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Zoo licence

If you want to display wild animals to the public for 7 or more days a year in any place that’s not a circus or pet shop, you will need to apply for a zoo licence.

Before you apply

You need to read and understand the requirements set out on this page before you submit an application for a zoo licence. We cannot proceed with your application unless you give us all the information we need.

Zoo licence applications follow a two-stage process and applicants must complete both of these steps. Select a topic below to find out what you have to do.

Notice of intention to operate a zoo

At least two months before making an application for a zoo licence, you must give notice of your intention to operate a zoo using our online form.

You must also:

  • publish notice of your intention to operate a zoo in both a local and a national newspaper
  • display a notice in a prominent position at your premises for two months
  • pay the notice of intention fee

Please keep a copy of the newspapers, as these must be attached to your formal application.

Formal application

Two months after you have given notice of your intention to operate a zoo, you can make a formal application.

To make a formal application, you will need to provide several supporting documents and details:

  • The reference number we gave you after you submitted your notice of intention 
  • Copies of the newspapers that published your notice of intention to apply for a licence
  • Details of any changes to the information you submitted in your initial notice

You will also need to pay the new application fee.

Fees and prices

You can find prices and fees for zoo licences by selecting a topic below.

New application fees

New application fees
Fees Price
Notice of intention fee £112
New application fee (payable at time of formal application) £1,458
Annual maintenance fee (payable each year for the period of the licence)  £673

Renewal application fees

Renewal application fees
Fees Price
Renewal application fee (payable at time of renewal application) £1,289
Annual maintenance fee (payable each year for the period of the licence)  £673

Licence duration

All new zoo licences we grant will be valid for four years.

All renewed zoo licences will be valid for six years.

How to apply

When you are sure you are able to provide all the information we need, submit an application using our online forms:

Submit a notice of intention

Apply for a zoo licence 

Renew a zoo licence

If you want to renew your existing zoo licence, you must complete our online renewal form:

Renew your zoo licence

Further information

Select a topic below to find out more about zoo licences.

The application process

Once we receive your initial notice of intention to open a zoo, along with the notice fee, we will arrange for a Licensing Officer to visit you to inspect the premises. 

Once we receive your formal application, we will inform the following:

  • Chief Officer of Police
  • Avon Fire and Rescue
  • B&NES Development Control
  • B&NES Trading Standards


When considering an application, we will take into account any representations made by or on behalf of:

  • The enforcing authority or the authority of the area in which the zoo will be situated
  • The governing body of any national institution concerned with the operation of zoos
  • Any person alleging that the zoo would affect the health or safety of people living near it
  • Any other person whose representations might show grounds on which the authority has a power or duty to refuse to grant a licence.

If part of the zoo is not situated in the area, we will also consult the planning authority for the relevant area.

We will also consider the inspector's report, consult the applicant about conditions they feel should be attached to the licence, and will arrange a second inspection with at least 28 days' notice.

Licence rejection

We will not grant a zoo licence if we feel that any of the following conditions apply:

  • The zoo would adversely affect the health or safety of people living in or near it
  • The zoo would seriously affect the preservation of law and order
  • We believe that conservation measures would not be satisfactorily implemented
  • The accommodation, staffing or management standards are not suitable for the proper care and wellbeing of the animals or for the proper conduct of the zoo

We will also reject any applications where any person affiliated with the proposed zoo has been convicted of any offence involving the ill-treatment of animals. This includes:

  • The applicant
  • Any of the company's directors, managers, secretaries (or other similar officers)
  • A keeper in the zoo

Processing time

Tacit consent applies. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from us within 100 days.


To appeal against a decision, email Licensing Services at:

Relevant legislation

Zoo Licensing Act 1981

We have made the information on these web pages as comprehensive as possible. However, in attempting to simplify the law, certain requirements have been omitted. Full details of what you must do are in the relevant legislation.

Laws can and do change. We must advise that only the Courts can give an authoritative opinion on statute law.

Customer complaints

If you think a zoo operator is breaking the terms of their licence and you want to make a complaint, please complete our online form

National Fraud Inititaive

We have a legal duty to protect the public funds we administer. As a result, we may use the information you have provided on your application form within this authority for the prevention and detection of fraud.

We may also share this information with other bodies administering or in receipt of public funds solely for these purposes.

For further information, please visit our National Fraud Initiative page or email our Information and Governance Team at