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Zoo Licensing

Zoos are regulated by the Council under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 (as amended).

New Forest District Council is responsible for licensing zoological parks within the District.  Zoo operators have to comply with the Secretary of State's Standards of Modern Zoo Practice. These standards cover animal welfare, environmental issues, conservation, education and research.

Although you may apply to operate a zoo online, using the links below, you are advised this is a specialist field and the regulations are complex. If you are thinking of setting up a zoo, it is recommended that you contact a specialist officer first for advice and guidance on the details.

To run a zoo you need a licence which we issue. You must first complete a notification that you intend to apply and also publish a notice in a local newspaper as well as a national paper, and a notice placed at the site. Two months after the notification you can apply. However, no application will be considered until the appropriate planning permissions have been granted.You can apply using our online application form, or via the business link website. The cost of a licence is detailed in the Fees and Charges until 31 March 2018.

Sites are audited by a team that includes a specialist veterinary surgeon and a zoological park manager both of whom are appointed by the Animal Health Zoos Inspectorate at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). These inspectors are appointed for their knowledge of the animals within the zoological collection and their experience in managing zoological parks of comparable size. Full (or Periodical) inspections are carried out every three years, with Informal inspections being carried out during the years a Periodical inspection does not take place. The administrative costs of inspections and the issuing of the licence is charged to the zoo operator.

Length of Licence:  New licenses last for 4 years and subsequent Licenses last for 6 years. You can complete an application to renew a zoo licence online. If you already have a licence and wish to change any details you can also apply to change a zoo licence.

As part of the application process we are required to consult the police, fire authority, governing body of any national institute concerned with zoos, adjoining authority if the zoo overlaps the area of that authority and any person wishing to object on grounds of alleged injurious effect on the health or safety of persons living in the area.

Updated: 2 Apr 2015
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