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To run a zoo in Medway you need a licence. The licence will be subject to a fee 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 of their intention to make the application in writing (including by electronic means) to the council. 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 positions of access points to be provided for the premises;
  • how the necessary 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 the council is available to be inspected at the council's offices.

Regulation summary

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 is available at www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1981/cukpga_19810037_en_1.

Application evaluation process

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

  • the applicant;
  • the chief officer of police for Kent and Medway;
  • 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 council's area, the planning authority for the relevant area;
  • anyone stating that the zoo would affect the health or safety of anyone living near it;
  • anyone whose representations might show grounds on which the council has a power or duty to refuse to grant a licence.

Before granting or refusing to grant the licence, the council will 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, giving at least 28 days' notice.

The council will not grant the licence if it feels that the zoo would affect the health or safety of people living near it adversely, seriously affect the preservation of law and order or if it is 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 for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, after consulting the council, may direct it 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 types of animal kept there, a direction should be made that 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 the council within the 90-day target time, please contact it. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service at online.ukwelcomes.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/BGAuthenticate?site=2000

Apply online

Failed application redress

Phone 01634 33 33 33 in the first instance. If an applicant is refused a licence, they may appeal to a magistrates' court within 28 days of the date on which they receive written notification of the refusal.

Licence holder redress

Phone 01634 33 33 33 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 of the date on which the licence holder receives written notification of the council's decision as to the relevant matter.

Consumer complaint

If you are a customer of a zoo, you should first contact the operator, preferably in writing, with proof of delivery. If that does not work and if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct (www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/) will give you advice. From outside the UK, contact the UK European Consumer Centre (www.ukecc.net/).

Anyone who wishes to appeal against a decision to close a zoo may apply to a magistrates' court. Appeals must be made within 28 days of the notice of the council's decision.

Other redress

If there are problems such as noise or pollution or if one licence holder complains about another, phone 01634 33 33 33

Government advice