Apply for a zoo licence



To run a zoo in the Waltham Forest area, you need a licence from us, under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.

Evaluation criteria and licence conditions

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) or the local planning authority for the area in which it is situated
  • 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

We will need to arrange an inspector to make an inspection of the zoo premises. We will provide at least 28 days notice of the inspection.

We will not grant the licence if:

  • we feel the zoo would adversely affect the health or safety of people living in or near it
  • we feel the zoo would seriously affect the preservation of law and order
  • we are not satisfied that appropriate conservation measures would be satisfactorily implemented
  • 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
  • any of the following has been convicted of any offence involving the ill-treatment of animals: the applicant, or if the applicant is an incorporated company, the company, any of its directors, managers, secretaries or other similar officers, or a keeper in the zoo

Conditions may be attached to a licence. 

We may advise that a licence is not required because of the small number of animals kept in the zoo or the small number of the kinds of animal kept there.

See a summary of the regulation relating to the licence on the Office of Public Sector Information website.

Fees and how to apply Click to get info

To apply

Zoo licences are issued by us.

Please email at: Include your name, address and other contact details.

An officer will contact you to explain the application process. 


Our officer will be able to advise you about fees. 

Eligibility criteria Click to get info

At least two months before making an application for a licence, the applicant must give notice in writing (including by electronic means) to Waltham Forest 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 us is available to be inspected at our offices.

Will tacit consent apply? Click to get info

No. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted.

If you have not heard from us within 28 working days, please contact us.

If your application fails Click to get info

Please contact us.

If your application is refused, you can appeal to your local Magistrates' Court within 28 days of receiving written notification of refusal. 

Licence holder redress Click to get info

Please contact us.

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 un-met condition

The appeal must be brought within 28 days from the receiving written notification of our decision. 

Consumer complaints Click to get info

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint, you contact the trader by letter with proof of delivery.

If that hasn't worked, GOV.UK gives advice on consumer rights within the UK. If you're from outside the UK, contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

For complaints relating to another aspect of the operation such as noise, pollution or public health, please contact us.

Other complaints Click to get info

Other complaints relating to another aspect of the operation such as noise, pollution or public health, please contact us.

If you don't have access to a computer, you can visit a Library Plus branch where you can use a self-service PC to log your request. Staff are available to support you if you need it.​​​​​​​

Contact Click to get info

Dog Team

Phone: 020 8496 3000 (please ask for the Dog Team)