Northampton Borough Council
Northampton Borough Council

Zoo Licence - how to apply

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This information complies with the new EU Services Directive that came into effect on 28 December 2009. This new directive aims to make it easier for businesses to set up or offer their services anywhere in the EU and apply and pay on-line for a licence. The directive covers a wide variety businesses including accountants, builders, food services, and leisure services.

Other services such as education, health, transport, planning, gambling, taxis and social services do not fall within the scope of the directive.

Eugo logoIf you require any further information then please contact Regulatory Services, Northampton Borough Council, The Guildhall, Northampton, NN1 1DE.

Licence summary

To run a zoo in England, Scotland and Wales, you need a licence from Northampton Borough Council.

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

The fee for a Zoo Licence is currently £530.00.
Eligibility Criteria

At least two months before making an application for a licence, the applicant must give notice in writing (including by electronic means) to Northampton Borough Council 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 Northampton Borough Council  is available to be inspected at their offices.

Regulation Summary

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence

Application Evaluation Process

When considering an application Northampton Borough Council 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

Before granting or refusing to grant the licence,  Northampton Borough Council 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 Northampton Borough Council .

Northampton Borough Council 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:

  • Northampton Borough Council is 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

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 Northampton Borough Council .

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

Northampton Borough Council  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.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No. It is in the public interest that Northampton Borough Council must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from Northampton Borough Council within a reasonable period (60 days), please contact us. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below.

Apply online

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

Failed Application Redress

Please contact Northampton Borough Council in the first instance.

If the applicant is refused a licence, they may appeal to a magistrates' court or in Scotland to the sheriff within 28 days from the date on which the applicant receives written notification of the refusal.

Licence Holder Redress

Please contact Northampton Borough Council in the first instance.

A licence holder may appeal to a Magistrates' court or in Scotland to the sheriff 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.

Consumer Complaint

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, Citizens Advice Bureau can 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 or, in Scotland, to the sheriff. Appeals must be made within 28 days of the notice of Northampton Borough Council's decision.

Other Redress

E.g. about noise, pollution, etc. Also should one licence holder complain about another.

Trade Associations

None