Accessibility Tools

Skip to main content
How can we help you?


The Zoo Licensing Act 1981 came into force in 1984. This law requires the inspection and licensing of all zoos in Great Britain.

It aims to ensure that, where animals are kept in enclosures, they are provided with a suitable environment to provide an opportunity to express most normal behaviour.

What does the law cover?

A zoo is defined in the act as being 'an establishment where wild animals are kept for exhibition... to which members of the public have access, with or without charge for admission, on more than seven days in any period of twelve consecutive months'.

The wide scope of this definition means that licensed zoos range from traditional urban zoos and safari parks to small specialist collections such as butterfly houses and aquaria.

The law recognises this wide range of establishments by allowing dispensations to be granted for small zoos.

Dispensations for these types of collections reduce the number of inspectors to a reasonable level for a small establishment, and do not in any way weaken a zoo's obligation to achieve the levels of animal welfare and modern public safety set out in the Secretary of State's standards.

The law does not extend to circuses, or to pet shops, both of which are covered by other legislation.

Apply by post

Before you apply you are strongly encouraged to contact our licensing team on 01905 822799 or by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

document Download Notice of Intention to Apply for a Zoo Licence application form (203 KB)

document Download Zoo Licence Application form (176 KB)

document Download Zoo Licence Renewal Form (177 KB)

You will need to complete an application form, and send it with the appropriate fee and any documents referred to on the form to: Licensing, Wychavon District Council, The Civic Centre, Queen Elizabeth Drive, Pershore, Worcestershire, WR10 1PT

The current fee to apply for a zoo licence can be found on our Licensing Fees and Charges page.

You must also meet the costs of the vet inspection that is required as part of the application process.

You can find further information on zoos on the GOV.UK website.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please get in touch.

Wychavon 50th anniversary logo