A zoo includes any establishment where wild animals are kept for exhibition to the public. Wild Animals are defined as animals that are not usually domesticated in Great Britain.
To operate a zoo you must get a licence from us for the area where the zoo is to be located.
There are different requirements when applying for a zoo licence. Before you can apply for a licence you must get planning permission for the zoo. To apply for planning permission please go to the Planning Portal website.
You must apply separately to Regulatory Services for a zoo licence. You must give us at least 2 months formal notice of your intention to apply for a licence. You must also publicise your intention in a local and national newspaper and display a copy of the published notice at the proposed site. We must keep the notice of intention on a public register until we have decided on the outcome of the application.
For more information about the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 please view the National Archives website. What happens once I have applied? You will need to pay the licence fee with your application. You will also be charged for Veterinary Inspections (rate set by Defra).
Once we have received an application a Veterinary Surgeon and a Council Officer will inspect the location of the business. The licence will only be issued if certain conditions have been met. Once licensed, a Council Officer and/or a Veterinary Surgeon will regularly inspect.
An initial zoo licence is granted for 4 years from the date of issue. After the initial zoo licence, renewals last for 6 years.
To complete a Notice to Apply for a Zoo Licence you must use our online form.
In order for you to be able to apply online you will need to create a MySouthend account. Our new online process makes licences quicker and easier. As part of the ongoing modernisation of our licensing service, you can now create an online account. This means that you can apply for or renew, vary or transfer an existing licence and track its progress during the application process.