To run a zoo you need a licence from us.
Two months before applying you must give notice in writing to us of your intention to make the application. This notice must identify:
At least two months before making your application you must also publish a notice of that intention in one local newspaper and one national newspaper and exhibit a copy of that notice.
This notice must show the location of the zoo and state that the application notice to us is available to be inspected at our offices.
When considering your application we shall take into account any representations made by or on behalf of:
See our licensing fees & charges
You can download, print and complete the notification and application forms here:
Application form for a new zoo licence
Notification of your intention to operate a zoo - to be sent to Colchester Borough Council
Notification of your intention to operate a zoo - to be sent to the relevant press
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 us.
Apply to renew your zoo licence
We aim to complete your application within 28 days (excluding the period of the notice of intention to apply).
Before granting or refusing to grant the licence, we shall consider any inspectors' reports based on their inspection of the zoo, consult you 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 us.
We will not grant the licence if we feel that the zoo would affect the health or safety of people living in near it, or seriously affect the preservation of law and order or if we are not satisfied that appropriate conservation measures would be satisfactorily implemented.
We may also refuse an application if we 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 if you, or 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.
The Secretary of State, after consulting us, may direct us to attach 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 that a licence is not required.
Please contact us in the first instance.
If you are refused a licence, or refused the renewal of a licence, you may appeal to the local Magistrates' Court.
Please contact us in the first instance
You may appeal to a Magistrates Court against:
The appeal must be bought within 28 days from the day you receive written notification of our decision on the relevant matter.
We would always advise that in the event of a complaint you contact the licence holder first – preferably in the form of a letter (with proof of delivery). If this does not work and you are located in the UK, Consumer rights - GOV.UK will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.
If you wish to appeal against a decision to close a zoo, you can apply to the local Magistrates’ Court. Any appeals must be made within 28 days of the notice of our decision.