Animal Welfare Licensing

Please ensure you read the relevant animal welfare regulations, information and linked documents before you complete the relevant application form.  All guidance was updated on 1 April 2022.

We aim to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation at all times. To see how we handle personal information, please ensure that you have read our privacy notice.  

The new licence mandatory conditions for each of the Animal Activities covered are set out below:


Apply for a licence

If you have been disqualified, or have had a licence revoked, you may not apply for a licence as laid down in Schedule 8 of the Animal Activity Licensing Regulations 2018

To apply for a licence you will need to complete sections 1 and 7 and the relevant section(s) dependant on the activity you are applying to be licensed for:

Once completed, please post to the address on the form or send by email to

Please allow for 10-12 weeks to process any application, according to the availability of the Inspector.  We aim to issue licences within 2 weeks of receiving the Inspector's Report and recommendation, assuming all fees and documents requested have been received.



All premises will be inspected before the licence is granted. The inspector will be looking to make sure the applicant has the following:

  • a specialist knowledge in the species that they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare. This would include the animals' mental and physical health, feeding and knowledge of environmental enrichment.
  • The applicant should be able to demonstrate that they have researched and followed expert guidance in order to carry out their role.
  • Comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to their particular activities.
  • An understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly. These documents should be available for the Inspector to examine.
  • Training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff.

The premises itself will also be assessed so we can be sure the licence holder can meet the new laws relating to the physical environment in which the animals will be kept.

Based on the application, and the information given to us at the inspection, we will assess the risk rating and award stars using a scoring method created by DEFRA, which is a requirement under the new scheme. Low-risk premises can attain up to five stars, and premises that have been assessed as higher risk can be awarded up to four stars. If the applicant is not satisfied with the decision, they can make improvements to address highlighted issues, and ask for a re-inspection.


Premises with lower star ratings

A Premises with a lower star rating is not necessarily a premises to avoid as there are other factors that have to be considered, such as the length of time the licence holder has been operating. New businesses are likely to be assessed as slightly higher risk simply because there is no history of good practice that can be considered. We would advise that, as stated above, the scoring method is one we must use to comply with Government requirements, and the ratings given should not be seen as a recommendation by the Council.


Public register

Once the Animal Activity Licence has been granted, the premises and its star rating will be listed on a public register in accordance with guidance issued by DEFRA.

View the animal register.


Apply for a dangerous wild animal licence

View a full list of animals you need a licence for


Apply for a zoo licence

You must, at least two months before making application, give notice in writing on the relevant form to the Council of their intention to make application and publish a notice of that intention in a local and national newspaper. In addition, a copy of that notice must be exhibited at the site. 

Please contact us to obtain the forms required at


Animal licence fees

As part of your application, you must obtain and submit a recent veterinary inspection report on the suitability of the premises. Alternatively, we can arrange an assessment of your premises by the City of London approved vet and recharge their fees to you. 

View our fees


Renewal of licence

While we endeavour to send reminders to renew in a timely manner, it is the responsibility of the licence holder to submit forms in time to avoid a lapse in cover.   We would recommend forwarding these no later than 2 months ahead to allow for the availability of the Inspector.


Further information

For further details on this service, or if you wish to complain about the conditions in premises that are licensed to keep animals, or to report an unlicensed premises, please email