Zoo Licence

Licence summary:

To run a zoo in the borough of Dartford, you need a licence from us. The licence will be subject to fees, and conditions to ensure the proper conduct of the zoo.

Eligibility criteria;

At least two months before making an application for a licence, the applicant must give notice in writing (including by electronic means) to Dartford Borough Council of their 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
  • How required conservation measures will be implemented at the zoo
  • At least two months before making the application, the applicant must also 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 to Dartford Borough Council is available to be inspected at the council offices

Regulation summary:

View a summary of the regulations relating to zoo licensing (gov.uk link).

Application evaluation process:

When considering an application we will take into account any representations made by or on behalf of:

  • The applicant
  • The chief officer of police in the relevant area
  • The appropriate authority - this is either the enforcing authority or relevant authority in whose area the zoo will be situated
  • The governing body of any national institution concerned with the operation of zoos
  • Where part of the zoo is not situated in the area of the local authority with power to grant the licence, a planning authority for the relevant area (other than a county planning authority)
  • 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
  • Any other person whose representations might show grounds on which the authority has a power or duty to refuse to grant a licence
  • Before granting or refusing to grant the licence, Dartford Borough Council 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. At least 28 days notice of the inspection shall be provided by Dartford Borough Council
  • Dartford Borough Council will not grant the licence if it feels 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:

  • The council is 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
  • 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 allowed by the council.

The Secretary of State, after consulting Dartford Borough Council, may direct them to attach one or more conditions to a licence.

The council 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.

Will tacit consent apply;

No. It is in the public interest that the Council must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from Dartford Borough Council within a reasonable period, please contact the council's Environmental Health team by calling 01322 343434 or Online: Contact EH Admin Team

Failed application redress / Licence holder redress:

In the first instance, please contact the council's Environmental Health team by calling 01322 343434 or Online: Contact EH Admin Team.

If the applicant is refused a licence, they may appeal to a Magistrates' Court within 28 days from the date on which the applicant receives written notification of the refusal.

A licence holder may appeal to a Magistrates' Court against:

  • Any condition attached to a licence or any variation or cancellation of a condition
  • The refusal to approve the transfer of a licence
  • A zoo closure direction
  • Enforcement steps relating to any unmet condition

The appeal must be brought within 28 days from the date on which the licence holder receives written notification of the council's decision as to the relevant matter.