To run a zoo in the borough of Basingstoke and Deane, you need a licence from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
The licence may be subject to fees, and conditions to ensure the proper conduct of the zoo.
At least two months before making an application for a licence, the applicant must give notice in writing (including by electronic means) to the Licensing Team of their intention to make the application. The notice must identify:
- the zoo's location
- the types of animals and approximate number of each group kept for exhibition on the premises and the arrangements for their accommodation, maintenance and wellbeing
- the approximate numbers and categories of staff to be employed in the zoo
- the approximate number of visitors and motor vehicles for which accommodation is to be provided
- the approximate number and position of access to be provided to the premises
- how required conservation measures will be implemented at the zoo
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.
A summary of the regulation relating to this licence
Application Evaluation Process
Fees will be payable for applications and conditions may be attached.
When considering an application the Licensing Team shall take into account any representations made by or on behalf of:
- the applicant
- the chief officer of police in the relevant area
- the appropriate authority - this is either the enforcing authority or relevant authority in whose area the zoo will be situated
- the governing body of any national institution concerned with the operation of zoos
- where part of the zoo is not situated in the area of the local authority with power to grant the licence, a planning authority for the relevant area (other than a county planning authority) or, if the part is situated in Wales, the local planning authority for the area in which it is situated
- any person alleging that the zoo would affect the health or safety of people living in the neighbourhood
- anyone stating that the zoo would affect the health or safety of anyone living near it
- any other person whose representations might show grounds on which the authority has a power or duty to refuse to grant a licence
An applicant for a licence will need to consider whether planning permission is required for the proposed licensed activity. 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. Before granting or refusing to grant the licence, the Licensing Team shall consider any inspectors' reports based on their inspection of the zoo, consult the applicant about any conditions they propose should be attached to the licence and make arrangements for an inspection to be carried out. At least 28 days notice of the inspection shall be provided by the Licensing Team.
The Zoo Licensing Act 1981 specifies conservation measures that must be undertaken by the zoo. The licence will contain appropriate conditions with regard to these measures and the Secretary of State issues model conditions for zoo licences. The local authority also has discretion to attach any condition(s) deemed necessary or desirable for the proper conduct of the zoo. The Secretary of State issues guidance of standards of practice that zoos should meet which apply in England. Copies of the Secretary of State’s Standards of Modern Zoo Practice are available from DEFRA.
The Licensing Team will not grant the licence if they feel that the zoo would adversely affect the health or safety of people living in near it, or seriously affect the preservation of law and order or if they are not satisfied that appropriate conservation measures would be satisfactorily implemented.
An application may also be refused if:
- the local authority are not satisfied that accommodation, staffing or management standards are 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, managers, secretaries or other similar officers, 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 Licensing Team, may direct them to attach one or more conditions to a licence.
For small zoos or for a zoo exhibiting only a small number of different kinds of animals the Secretary of State has powers to relax the requirements of the Act. The local authority can seek a direction that the Act shall not apply at all (Section 14(1)(a)) or that certain category of inspection is not required (Section 14(1)(b)).
Alternatively, the zoo operator, on applying to the Secretary of State for a zoo licence, may be granted a dispensation (Section 14(2)) to reduce the number of inspectors to a reasonable level for a small establishment. This doesn’t reduce the zoo’s obligation to achieve the levels of animal welfare and public safety set out in the Secretary of State’s Standards.
Applications to renew a licence will be considered no later than six months before the expiry of the existing licence, unless a shorter time period is allowed by the local authority. Each original licence will run for four years, consecutive renewals will run for six years. Failure or late application for renewal may invalidate any public liability insurance for the premises.
Changes to the licence i.e. name changes, ownership changes can be undertaken at the request of the operator, however a charge may be required. A licence can be transferred to another person with the approval of the local authority. On the death of the holder of a licence, the personal representatives of the deceased are deemed to be the holders during a three month period following the death, or longer with our approval.
When should I expect a decision?
Tacit consent does not apply to this application as it is in the public interest that the Licensing Team must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the licensing team within 3 months of the application please contact us. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below.
Send notification of your intention to operate a zoo
Apply for a licence to operate a zoo
Tell us about a change to your existing zoo licence
Application forms can also be downloaded at the below link and sent by post to the licensing team.
Failed Application Redress
Please contact Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in the first instance.
Any person aggrieved by the decision to refuse a licence may appeal in writing within 28 days to the councils Licensing Committee. Alternatively you may appeal within 28 days to the Magistrates Court.
Licence Holder Redress
Please contact Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in the first instance.
A licence holder may appeal to a Magistrates' court 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 any unmet condition
The appeal must be brought within 28 days from the date on which the licence holder receives written notification of the authority's decision as to the relevant matter.
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.
Any person who wishes to appeal against a decision to close a zoo may apply to the local Magistrates' court. Appeals must be made within 28 days of the notice of the local authority decision.
If you are not happy about other issues such as nuisance (for example noise, dust and drainage), please contact Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
We work in close partnership with the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on all aspects of zoo licensing.
Applications or general enquiries should be addressed to the Licensing Team at the below address:
The Licensing Team