Animals

Zoo Licence

A zoo is a collection of wild animals which are on display to members of the public for 7 or more days in any 12 consecutive month period. The Zoo Licensing Act defines a wild animal as being any animal not normally domesticated in Great Britain.

There are occasions where an animal collection which meets the definition of a zoo may not require a licence or where a licence is required, that the sections of the Act which relate to periodic and special inspections do not apply. We will inform the Secretary of State if we believe that either of this dispensations apply.

If you have one or more animals which you take to different venues e.g. pony parties, mobile reptile exhibit then you will need to apply for a licence to keep or train animals for exhibition.

Our Licensing department works in close partnership with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on all aspects of zoo licensing.

View a summary of the licence.

Find out more about the State's standards of modern zoo practice on the Government website.

  1. Eligibility Criteria

    The applicant, in the case where the applicant is a body corporate, any officer of that company or keeper must not have any convictions under the following legislation

    • The Animal Welfare Act 2006
    • the Protection of Animals (Scotland) Acts 1912 to 1964;
    • the Pet Animals Act 1951;
    • the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963;
    • the Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970;
    • the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973;
    • the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976;
    • the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act 1976.
    • Part I of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
    • Animal Health Act 1981
    • Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006
    • Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018
    • Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) (Wales) Regulations 2014.

    Find out if you are eligible.

  2. How do I apply?

    Zoos which haven’t been licensed before have to do the following before we can accept an application.

    Submit a notice of intention to apply for a Zoo Licence to the council at least 2 months before applying for a licence.

    Arrange for a notice of intention to apply for a Zoo Licence to be published in a local and national newspaper at least 2 months before applying for a licence.

    Display a notice of intention to apply for Zoo Licence at the site for at least 2 months before applying for a Zoo Licence.

    When the 2 month notice period has ended we can accept an application for a Zoo Licence.

    We will notify the Police, Fire and Rescue Service, Planning and the governing body of any national institution concerned with the operation of zoos that we have received your intention to apply for a licence. It is possible for representatives of these organisations, as well as anyone else who feels that the zoo would have a negative impact on health and safety of people who live close to the proposed zoo to submit comments about the notice.

    An applicant for a licence will need to consider whether planning permission is required for the proposed zoo. They should contact the planning department to discuss whether permission will be needed. The local authority may refuse or defer a decision on an application for a licence until the planning issue has been decided.

    We recommend that you contact us to discuss the notice of intention to apply for a licence or application for a zoo licence before you submit it. You can contact us at licensing@southsomerset.gov.uk.

    Find the notice of intention form and the application form.

  3. Consideration of an application

    Before deciding to grant or refuse a licence, we must consider inspection reports from at least one Veterinary Surgeon. We will arrange the inspections.

    We will consult you about the conditions we propose to attach to the licence.

    We will give you 28 days notice of the inspection which is required to determine the application.

  4. How long are licences valid for?

    When a zoo licence is granted for the first time, it is valid for 4 years.

    When a licence is renewed it will be valid for 6 years.

    Premises are subject to inspections during the licensed period. We will provide more information about the timing of these when the licence is issued.

    At least 28 days notice will be provided for the periodic inspection.

    Informal inspections may be unannounced.

    Applications to renew have to be submitted at least 6 months before the expiry of the licence.

  5. What do I do if I disagree with the outcome of my application or any condition attached?

    You can appeal to a Magistrates’ Court within 28 days from the date of the written notice.

    Licence holder redress

    In the first instance, contact:

    The Licensing Manager
    Licensing Service
    South Somerset District Council
    The Council Offices
    Brympton Way
    Yeovil
    Somerset
    BA20 2HT

    Telephone: 01935 462462

    Any licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition attached to their licence can appeal to the local Magistrates' court. The appeal must be bought within 6 months of receiving written notification of the authority's decision.

    The Magistrates Court
    Petters Way
    Yeovil
    Somerset
    BA20 1SW

    Telephone: 01935 426281

    Failed application redress

    In the first instance, contact:

    The Licensing Manager
    Licensing Service
    South Somerset District Council
    The Council Offices
    Brympton Way
    Yeovil
    Somerset
    BA20 2HT

    Telephone: 01935 462462

    Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to the local Magistrates' court. The appeal must be bought within 6 month's of receiving written notice of the authority's decision.

    The Magistrates Court
    Petters Way
    Yeovil
    Somerset
    BA20 1SW

    Telephone: 01935 426281

    Other redress

    None.

    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, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

  6. Will tacit consent apply?

    No, tacit consent does not apply to zoo licence applications. This means that you must wait for us to determine your application before a zoo may begin operating. It is in the public interest that we process your application before it can be granted.

  7. Trade associations and Public register

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