To operate a zoo in County Durham you must first obtain a licence from us to do so.
A zoo is defined as an establishment where wild animals are kept for exhibition, excluding circuses or pet shops, to which members of the public can access with or without charge, on more than seven days in any period of 12 consecutive months.
The need for a licence is a requirement under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.
A list of animals for which a zoo licence may be required and the standards that need to be met can be found in The Secretary of States Modern Zoo Practice.
We can also ask for direction to be made by the Secretary of State that a licence is not required on the basis of a small number of animals being kept in the zoo.
Before applying to us for a zoo licence you must give us, in writing, at least two months notice of your intention to make an application, and publish a notice of the intention in at least one local and one national newspaper. The notice provided to us must identify:
Once you have served us notice, we will display the notice for public viewing.
You will also need to consider whether planning permission is needed for your zoo. Information on this should be sought from our Planning service. We may not be able to consider your zoo licence application until any planning issues have been resolved.
Application forms can be requested using the details at the foot of this page; otherwise you can download a form below. The application form details the conditions on which the licence will be granted.
On receipt of your zoo licence application we will take into account any representations made by or on behalf of:
Providing there are no objections received, an inspection of your premises will take place with the following people present:
The veterinary surgeon will be checking whether the following conservation measures are in place:
Before granting or refusing a license we would first consider the veterinary surgeon's report and consult with you regarding the conditions that would be attached to the licence if it were granted.
The process for granting a licence for a zoo has a number of stages to complete which may take some time. However, when this authority is in receipt of a satisfactory veterinary report and in a position to grant a licence, this licence will be issued within seven working days.
The cost of a zoo licence is £715 and is valid for four years. A subsequent renewal costs £640 and is valid for six years.
In addition to the licence fee, vets fees should they be incurred are also payable during the application process. Due to the variation in fees between vets and the unique work that is required to support each application, we are unable to specify costs.
We will not be able to grant a licence if we consider that:
If you require any further information or advice regarding your application, have concerns regarding an existing zoo, or in the event of a complaint, please contact us.