To run a zoo in Scotland, you need a licence from the local authority.
The licence may be subject to fees, and conditions to ensure the proper conduct of the zoo.
The Council works in close partnership with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on all aspects of zoo licensing.
The licensing of zoos is a specialist field and the regulations are complex. If you are thinking of setting up a zoo, it is recommended that you contact a specialist officer first for advice and guidance using the contact details shown.
At least two months before making an application for a licence, the applicant must give notice in writing (including by electronic means) to Falkirk 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 the local authority is available to be inspected
at the local authority offices.
Application evaluation process
A fee will be payable for applications and if the licence is granted conditions may be attached.
||£200.00 plus Vet fee if required
When considering an application Falkirk Council shall take into account any representations made by or on behalf of:
- the applicant
- the chief officer of police (or in Scotland the chief constable) in the relevant
- 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
- 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
- any other person whose representations might show grounds on which the authority
has a power or duty to refuse to grant a licence
Before granting or refusing to grant the licence, Falkirk Council shall 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. At least 28 days notice of the inspection shall
be provided by Falkirk Council.
Falkirk Council will not grant the licence if they feel the zoo would adversely
affect the health or safety of people living in or 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:
- Falkirk 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
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 Falkirk
The Secretary of State, after consulting Falkirk Council, may direct them to attach
one or more conditions to a licence.
Falkirk Council may advise the Secretary of State that, because of the small number
of animals kept in the zoo or the small number of the kinds 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 Falkirk Council must process your application
before it can be granted.
If you have not heard from us within 28 days, please contact us.
How to apply
To apply, change or renew a licence to run a zoo you can complete the form below
and send it to Falkirk Council by email or post:
Please also include the following with your application:
- Site/location plan
- Plan showing proposed layout of the zoo
- Planning permission
- Animal accommodation plan
- Entrances and exits plan
- Stock list
- Public liability insurance certificate
- Employer's liability insurance certificate
- Notice of intention published in press
- Notice of intention displayed at site
- Any other supporting documentation
Failed application and licence holder redress
Please contact us in the first instance.
A licence holder may appeal to the Sheriff in Scotland 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.
If you have a complaint, please contact the trader first, preferably in writing.
If you do this by letter, make sure you get proof of delivery.
If you’ve done this and feel your complaint still hasn’t been resolved, contact the
Citizens Advice Bureau.
But if you do not live in the UK, you'll need to contact the
UK European Consumer Centre.
For example; complaints about noise, pollution, etc should be directed to the Environmental