Zoo licence

If you want to run a zoo in Herefordshire you need to apply to us for a licence.

You'll need a zoo licence if you'll be displaying wild animals to the public for at least seven days a year, in any place that's not a circus or pet shop.

You must give us at least two months' notice of your intention to apply for a licence before you submit an application.

You must be over 18 to apply for a licence.

About this licence

This licence comes under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.

We may refuse to grant a licence if the applicant or keeper in the zoo has been convicted under any offence listed on the GOV.UK website.

Licence Fee 2024/25
Granting of licence £608 plus vets fees and Defra fees
Renewal £269 plus £60 for each year on the licence
Periodical inspections £198 plus vets fees and Defra fees

Additional fees

Licence Fee
Change of business name £21
Transfer £54
Variation £253 plus £236 if committee hearing required
Copy of licence £21
Application and guidance notes
Processing and timescales

It can take up to 12 weeks to process an application for a zoo licence.

When we receive your completed application and fee we will liaise with DEFRA to arrange an inspection with a zoo inspector. We will then notify you of the inspection date and time.

A zoo inspection can take a few hours and a member of the licensing team will be present.

The zoo inspector's report will determine whether or not you will be granted a licence.

Once a successful zoo inspection has been carried out, the licence will be granted and issued.

We may refuse or withhold a licence on other grounds if the conditions are not suitable for any animals involved in your application.

Validity and renewals

A zoo licence can be granted at any time during the year and the initial licence will last for four years. An annual zoo inspection of the premises may be required depending on the types of animals in your application.

A renewed zoo licence will last for six years.

You can submit a licence renewal application between nine and six months before the licence expiry.

Changes to a licence

You should contact the licensing section to discuss any proposed changes to the licensable activity, including any changes to:

  • The licence holder
  • The person named in the application as the person who will have direct control or management of the establishment
  • The layout of the premises
  • The number or types of animals used under the terms of the licence
  • The address where the animals are normally kept

Please see the licence variation fee listed in the ‘Fees’ section. Please note, a zoo inspection may need to be carried out to ensure any variations comply with all the conditions required for a zoo licence.

Death of a licence holder

In the event of the death of a licence holder, the licence may pass to their personal representative, provided that they notify us in writing within 28 days of the death that they are now the operators of the licensable activity. If the personal representatives do not notify us within 28 days of the death, the licence shall cease to have effect after 28 days.

If we are notified in writing within 28 days of the death, the licence will then remain in place for three months from the death of the formal licence holder, or for the remaining licence period if that time period is shorter. The new licence holder should then apply for a new licence one month before the expiry of this new period.

The three month period may be extended at our discretion.

Current applications
Contact us in the first instance.
Contact details

Please contact us by email or telephone. All calls are dealt with by our contact centre staff and are allocated to an officer who will take action on the service request within one to ten working days.

Our telephone operating hours are 9am - 4.15pm.