Animal licences

Zoo licence

A zoo is defined as 'an establishment where wild animals are kept for exhibition to which members of the public have access, with or without charge for admission, 7 or more days in any period of 12 consecutive months. The Act does not extend to circuses, or to pet shops, which are covered by other legislation.

Zoo licences are initially provided for a period of 4 years, with subsequent renewal licences issued for 6 year periods.

Our trained officers inspect each zoo on a yearly basis. We also employ veterinary surgeons and other animal welfare and zoo specialists to assist.

An inspection of a zoo is very detailed and thorough, as we need to ensure that the zoo operates to a high standard.

These standards can be found in the guidance leaflet Standards of Modern Zoo Practice (link opens in new window) on the GOV.UK website.


New licence and renewal: £50, plus officer hourly rate £55 for each hour spent.

Dispensation status from DEFRA (and renewal): officer hourly rate £55 for each hour spent.

How to apply

Before applying, please call us to discuss this licence on 0300 300 8307. We will provide advice and ensure your eligibility.

You can apply online for a zoo licence (link opens in new window)

What happens next?

After you submit your application, we will contact you to arrange an inspection of your premises.

Tacit consent

Tacit consent does not apply for this licence. You must not assume that your licence is granted if you have not heard from us.

Appeals and complaints

If you have been refused a licence, or have a complaint about the issue of the licence, you can write to:

The Service Manager
Public Protection
Central Bedfordshire Council
Priory House
Monks Walk
SG17 5TQ

Alternatively, you can email the Service Manager at

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