Zoo licence

To run a zoo in England you need a licence from Telford & Wrekin Council. The licence may be subject to fees, and conditions to ensure the proper conduct of the zoo. Zoo licence's are regulated by the Zoo Licensing Act 1981. 

Visit the Legislation website to view the Zoo Licensing Act 1981

Fees and charges

The licence fee is £1725 plus Zoo Inspector's fee for a new licence and £2015 plus Zoo Inspector's fee for a renewal licence.

An original licence granted under the Act shall be granted for a period of four years beginning with the date specified in the licence as that on which it is granted or any later date specified in the licence as that on which the licence is to commence.

A fresh licence granted under the Act to the holder of an existing licence shall be granted for a period of six years beginning with the end of the period of the existing licence. A licence shall be granted subject to conditions.

Application evaluation process

When considering an application the Council shall take into account any representations made by or on behalf of:

  • the applicant
  • the chief officer of police in the relevant area
  • the appropriate authority - this is either the enforcing authority or relevant authority in whose area the zoo will be situated
  • the governing body of any national institution concerned with the operation of zoos
  • where part of the zoo is not situated in the area of the Council with power to grant the licence, a planning authority for the relevant area (other than a county planning authority) or, if the part is situated in Wales, the local planning authority for the area in which it is situated
  • any person alleging that the zoo would affect the health or safety of people living in the neighbourhood
  • anyone stating that the zoo would affect the health or safety of anyone 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.

Before granting or refusing to grant the licence, the Council shall consider any inspectors' reports based on their inspection of the zoo, consult the applicant about any conditions they propose should be attached to the licence and make arrangements for an inspection to be carried out. At least 28 days notice of the inspection shall be provided by the Council.

A register should be kept containing a description of all animals received, their arrival and departure date and the name and address of the owner. The register should be available to be inspected at any time by a local authority officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner.

The local authority will not grant the licence if they feel that the zoo would adversely affect the health or safety of people living in near it, or seriously affect the preservation of law and order or if they are not satisfied that appropriate conservation measures would be satisfactorily implemented.

An application may also be refused if:

  • the Council are not satisfied that accommodation, staffing or management standards are suitable for the proper care and wellbeing of the animals or for the proper conduct of the zoo
  • the applicant, or if the applicant is an incorporated company, the company or any of the company's directors, managers, secretaries or other similar officers, or a keeper in the zoo, has been convicted of any offence involving the ill-treatment of animals.

Applications to renew a licence will be considered no later than six months before the expiry of the existing licence, unless a shorter time period is allowed by the local authority.

The Secretary of State, after consulting the Council, may direct them to attach one or more conditions to a licence.

The Council may advise the Secretary of State that, because of the small number of animals kept in the zoo or the small number of the kinds of animal kept there, a direction should be made that that a licence is not required.

Will tacit consent apply?

Yes - tacit consent means that if we have not dealt with applications within the target period then the application can be deemed to have been granted/approved.

Applications will normally be determined within 84 days of all the necessary information being received.

Failed application/licence holder redress

Failed application redress

Please contact Telford & Wrekin Council in the first instance. If an application is refused the applicant may appeal to Telford & Wrekin Magistrates Court.

The appeal must be made within 28 days of the written notification of the refusal and a notice of appeal must be served on Telford & Wrekin Council. Magistrates' court decisions can be appealed to the Crown Court.

Licence holder redress

Please contact Telford & Wrekin Council in the first instance. Licence holders can appeal against:

  • 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.

Appeals must be made to Telford & Wrekin Magistrates Court within 28 days of the date you received notification of the decision in writing. Magistrates' court decisions can be appealed to the Crown Court.

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, visit the Citizens Advice website for advice. From outside the UK contact the Visit the UK European Consumer Centre website for traders outside the UK.

Other redress

E.g. about noise, pollution, etc. Also should one licence holder complain about another.

Public registers and databases

View information on how to contact us for more information on the public register.

Last updated: 10/03/2021 16:15

  1. Introduction
  2. Eligibility
  3. How do I apply?
  4. Contact