Zoos and aquaria are both licensed under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.

The inspection regime is regulated by the Secretary of State’s Standards of Modern Zoo Practice and overseen by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) 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.


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.

Apply for a zoo licence

Download and complete the intention to apply for a zoo licence application form [PDF 89KB].

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


Licensing service

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

The Licensing Service is available to contact by telephone or to visit in person to the Licensing desk at Blackpool Council's Customer First Centre on Corporation Street between 10.00am and 4.00pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Wednesday 10.00am-13.00pm.