If you are thinking of setting up a zoo, it is recommended that you contact us first for advice and guidance.

Inform us of your zoo plans

We can't consider an application for a zoo licence unless at least two months notice of the application has been given, details have been published in a local and national newspaper, and a notice (pdf 7.1KB) has been placed at the site.

Apply online for a zoo licence

You will also need to:

Application forms with the correct fees should be addressed to the Licensing team and sent to the council address, or you can hand them in at one of our offices.


Periodic and certain licence inspections involve a team of inspectors, *two of which are nominated by the Secretary of State and no more than 3 appointed by the Local Authority. In accordance with S15 of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 the Local Authority may charge the zoo for the costs and expenses incurred from the Secretary of State inspectors and the costs associated with the Local Authority appointed inspector(s).

The fee for the grant of a zoo licence application is £71.10, plus veterinary costs.

The fee for a zoo licence renewal application is £71.10, plus veterinary costs.

The fee for a periodic inspection (undertaken in the third year of the licence and no later than six months before the expiry of the licence) is subject to veterinary costs.

The fee to transfer the zoo licence is £71.10

The fee for a special inspection is the cost of the veterinary fees, if required.

The fees for the Secretary of State inspectors are subject to a maximum of 8 hours per day and the following expenses –

  • £72.53 per hour

  • An extension to the 8 hour day will be permitted if it results in the overall costs being reduced, eg. avoiding the necessity of extending the inspection by a further day

  • Meal and accommodation subsistence

  • Travelling expenses which may include standard class rail travel, mileage allowance and air travel

  • The standard hourly rate can also be claimed for the paperwork associated with the inspection

  • Fees for services and expenses of the Secretary of State nominated inspectors. (pdf 329KB)

The total fee for veterinary services are variable and calculated based on the time spent conducting the inspection and the expenses of the personnel involved. Please contact the Licensing Team if you require further information.

*except where a direction under Section 14 of the Act has been issued.


The Zoo Licensing Act 1981 specifies various conservation measures that must be undertaken by a zoo. These will be attached alongside a series of standard zoo licence conditions and any other conditions specific to the establishment. (pdf 21KB)

North Devon Council can also attach any conditions it deems necessary or desirable for the proper conduct of the zoo. The Secretary of State also issues guidance of standards of practice that zoos should meet, which apply in England. Copies of the Secretary of State’s Standards of Modern Zoo Practice are available from DEFRA.

Further information