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Zoos and aquaria

Zoos and aquaria are licensed under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 ("The Act").

The inspection regime is regulated by the Secretary of State’s Standards of Modern Zoo Practice in conjunction with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) under the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Licences are granted for a 6 year period and, during this time, zoos are required to have annual inspections.

Applying for a zoo licence

At least two months before applying for a licence, the applicant must give notice in writing of their intention to make the application [PDF 89KB] (including by electronic means) to Blackpool Councill. 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 means 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 Blackpool Council is available to be inspected at the licensing service’s offices.

Application evaluation process

When considering an application Blackpool Council shall take into account any representations made by or on behalf of any persons mentioned in Section 3(2) of the Act.

Before granting or refusing to grant the licence, Blackpool Council shall make arrangements for an inspection to be carried out. At least 28 days notice of the inspection shall be provided by Blackpool Council.

Consideration will be given to any inspectors' reports based on their inspection of the zoo, and the applicant will be consulted about any conditions they propose should be attached to the licence.

Blackpool Council will not grant the licence if they feel that the zoo would adversely affect the health or safety of people living 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:

  • Blackpool Council 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
  • 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

Fees are calculated based on the time spent conducting the inspections and the expenses of the personnel involved – please contact us for further information.

Applications to renew a licence will be considered no later than six months before the expiry of the existing licence.


Inspections extend to all features of the zoo directly or indirectly relevant to the health, welfare and safety of the public and the animals, including measures for the prevention of the escape of animals.

They will also extend to the zoo’s compliance with requirements on conservation and education. The level of inspection varies depending on which year within the licence period it falls.

A periodical inspection is attended by 2 DEFRA appointed vets, a council appointed vet and a council officer. A periodical inspection goes into further detail than an informal inspection and this is usually the opportunity for the inspectors to put conditions on the licence if required.

An informal inspection is attended by a council appointed vet and a council officer.

An informal inspection is used mostly as a follow up to the periodical inspection to make sure any conditions and/or recommendations have been rectified.

Tacit consent

Tacit consent does not apply. It is in the public interest that Blackpool Council must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the council within a reasonable period, please contact us.

Failed application redress

Please contact Blackpool Council in the first instance.

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.

Licence holder redress

Please contact Blackpool Council in the first instance.

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 authority's decision as to the relevant matter.


Any person who wishes to appeal against a decision to close a zoo may apply to the local magistrates' court. Appeals must be made within 28 days of the notice of the local authority decision.

Complaints about the operation of the premises should be directed to Blackpool Council Licensing Service.

Consumer complaint: We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form of a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice Consumer Service can give you advice. From outside the UK contact the European Consumer Centre for Services.


Licensing service

Municipal buildings, Corporation Street, Blackpool, FY1 1NF
Telephone 01253 478570

The licensing service is available to contact by telephone between 10:00am and 2:00pm Monday to Friday or visit in person by appointment only at the licensing desk at Blackpool Council's Customer First Centre on Corporation Street .