Apply to open a zoo or renew a zoo licence

Apply for a licence to run a zoo as a business in the city, renew your licence or make a change to an existing licence.

Who needs a zoo licence

You need a zoo licence if you keep animals:

  • that are not normally domesticated in the UK
  • to show to the public for more than 7 days in a year

You should apply at least 6 months before the start date of your licence.

You first licence is for 4 years. Then you'll need to renew it every 6 years. 

Find more information about zoo licences from GOV.UK.

How we make sure zoos are responsible

The Secretary of State for the Environment sets the standards of modern zoo practice.

You can find the standards of modern zoo practice from DEFRA (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs).

We have to make sure that people who run zoos follow these standards. 


Before we give you a licence, we choose a veterinary practitioner with DEFRA to inspect your premises.

We'll also inspect your premises when your licence is up for renewal. You'll be resposible for the veterinary charges.

You can send an email to or phone 01273 294 266.