Licence summary

Under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 those who run a zoo must obtain a licence. Conditions can be applied to the licence to ensure the proper conduct of the zoo.

Licence conditions

Please note: There is no provision in the Act to transfer the ownership of a Licence from one person to another. Therefore if you are intending to purchase a currently licensed premises, you will need to apply, pay for and obtain a new Licence.

Who can apply?

Any fit and proper person who is not disqualified from keeping animals may apply.

Is planning permission required?

We recommend that you discuss your proposals with Planning Services to determine whether a planning application is needed.

How long will it take for my application to be assessed?

At least two months before making an application for a licence, you must give us notice in writing (including by electronic means) of your intention to make the application. You must also publish notice of that intention in one local newspaper and one national newspaper and exhibit a copy of that notice. For details of the specific information required in these notices please contact the Environmental Protection team using the contact details below.

After this time, you can make an application. We will give you at least 28 days notice of when a full inspection will be conducted by Defra and our appointed inspectors. We will consider the report from this inspection and any objections that have been raised during the notification period, and if a licence is granted this will have mandatory and special conditions attached.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. A zoo must not be run without a licence.

How do I apply for a licence?

Advice to Mac users – you may need the latest Adobe Reader (for Macs) to open the GOV.UK pdf application form and use the 'open with' function (control left-click and select Adobe Reader).

How much does a licence cost?

There are a range of costs associated with zoo licences:

  • Notice of intention to apply for a zoo licence - £121
  • Application for a zoo licence for 4 years - £425
  • Special inspection of a licensed zoo - £150
  • Periodic inspection (renewal and 3 yearly) - £622

Costs of Defra appointed inspectors and local authority appointed vets required at some inspections will be passed on to the licensee in addition to the above costs.

How long does a licence last?

Initially a licence is granted for 4 years. After this it is renewed for 6 years and is renewed every 6 years thereafter.

What can I do if my licence application is refused?

You can apply to the Magistrates' Court if your application is refused.

Public register of licensed zoos

Suffolk Coastal district register of licensed zoos Waveney district register of licensed zoos