Zoo Licensing

 Zoo Licensing 

Why do I need a licence? 

The Zoo Licensing Act 1981 applies to:

  • anyone who runs a zoo; and

  • any collection of animals / birds not normally found in the UK that are on show to the public for more than seven days a year.


How do I obtain a licence? 

At least two months before making an application for a licence, you must give notice in writing (by letter or email) of your 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; and

  • how required conservation measures will be implemented at the zoo.

You can apply by post by giving notice and completing the application form:

Applications must be made on the prescribed forms and be accompanied by all relevant documents. The application fee should be paid at the time of your application. You will also be required to pay any veterinary inspection fees before the licence is issued.



A list of current licence fees can be found on the West Northants Council website.

The application fee should be paid at the time of your application.


Application process

At least two months before making your application, you must 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 sent to us is available to be inspected at our offices during normal office hours.

When considering your application West Northants Council (Daventry Area) shall take into account any representations made by or on behalf of:

  • the applicant;

  • the Chief Police Officer; 

  • the appropriate authority - either the enforcing authority (West Northants Council (Daventry Area)) or relevant authority in whose area the zoo will be situated; 

  • the governing body of any national institution concerned with the operation of zoos;

  • the planning authority, where part of the zoo is not situated in the area of West Northants Council (Daventry Area)

  • 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; and

  • any other person whose representations might show grounds on which West Northants Council (Daventry Area) has a power or duty to refuse to grant a licence.

Before granting or refusing a licence, West Northants Council (Daventry Area) 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.

Daventry District Council will not grant the licence if we 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:

  • West Northants Council (Daventry Area) 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; or

  • 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 set.

The Secretary of State, after consulting with West Northants Council (Daventry Area), may direct the attachment one or more conditions to a licence.

We 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 a licence is not required.

The licence is issued for four years initially and then renewed every six years.


Will tacit consent apply if I do not hear anything within 28 days?

No. We must process your application and notify you that a licence / permit has been granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us via email or phone. 

Licensed Activity and Licence Holder Complaints

Should you wish to complain about a licensed activity or licence holder within the area of West Northants Council (Daventry Area), click on this link for contact details.


Service Complaints, Appeals, Failed Application Redress, Other Redress and Local Government Ombudsman

If you think we have done something wrong or are aggrieved by a decision made by West Northants Council (Daventry Area), please click on this link to see the options available to you.