You must first complete the notification that you intend to apply and also publish a notice in a local newspaper as well as a national paper. Two months after notification you can apply for the licence. The following supporting documents are required and can be uploaded:

- Notice of intention published in press ( mandatory )
- Notice of intention displayed at site ( optional )
- Amended stock list ( optional )

What I need to know?

To run a zoo in England, Scotland and Wales, you need a licence from the local authority.

The licence is subject to fees, and conditions to ensure the proper conduct of the zoo.

Please read the advice on this page before using the links below. If you have any queries, please contact Environmental Health using the contact details on the right.

View a summary of the regulations relating to this licence

Notice of intention and information / evidence required

At least two months before making an application for a licence, the applicant must give notice to the local authority of their intention to make the application. This can be done online using the link below. The fee you will pay depends on the information you supply in your application. Guidance on how to calculate the fee is given in the form and you will pay it online.

The following supporting documents are required and can be uploaded:

  • Site/location plan ( mandatory )
  • Plan showing proposed layout of the zoo ( mandatory )
  • Planning permission ( mandatory )
  • Animal accommodation plan ( mandatory )
  • Annotated drawing or plan of animal accommodation
  • Entrances and exits plan ( optional )
  • Annotated drawing or plan of entrances and exits to the premises
  • Stock list ( optional )
  • Press notice ( optional )
  • Public liability insurance certificate ( optional )
  • Employer's liability insurance certificate ( optional )

At least two months before making the application, the applicant must also publish notice of that intention in one local newspaper and one national newspaper and exhibit a copy of that notice. The notice must identify the location of the zoo and state that the application notice to the local authority is available to be inspected at the local authority offices.

What happens next?

We will consider your application, taking account of representations made by, or on behalf of:

  • The applicant
  • The chief police officer for the Surrey Heath area
  • Departments within Surrey Heath Borough Council, as the enforcing authority
  • The governing body of any national institution concerned with operating zoos
  • A neighbouring planning authority - if part of the zoo is sited within that authority
  • Any person alleging that the zoo would affect the health or safety of people living near it or in the neighbourhood
  • Anyone else whose objections may suggest we have the power or duty to refuse a licence application
  • Before making a decision on your licence application, we will also consider any inspectors' reports based on their inspection of the zoo, consult you about any conditions they propose should be attached to the licence and arrange for an inspection to be carried out. We will give you at least 28 days' notice for the inspection.

We will refuse a licence if:

  • We feel that the zoo would adversely affect the health or safety of people living in near it or would seriously affect law and order
  • We are not satisfied that there would be appropriate conservation measures put in place
  • We are not satisfied that accommodation, staffing or management standards would be 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, staff, or a keeper in the zoo, has been convicted of any offence involving the ill-treatment of animals

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

The local authority 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.

If I don't hear from you for 56 days can I assume it's been granted ("tacit consent")?

No. It is in the public interest for us to consider your application fully. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us.

If I'm turned down, how do I appeal?

Please contact us in the first instance.

If we refuse your licence application, you can appeal to the local magistrates' court within 28 days of receiving notification of the refusal.

You can also 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 an unmet condition

Again, you must appeal within 28 days of receiving written notification of our decision.

How often do I have to renew the licence?

The first licence you apply for will last for four years, while renewals will run for six. You will need to apply to renew your licence at least six months before the existing licence expires.

Please contact us if you wish to renew a licence.

Are there inspections/assessments?

We will inspect your premises before issuing a licence. If we grant a licence, we will inspect your premises on an annual basis.

Further information: