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Animal licences

Inspections and star ratings

All premises will be inspected before the licence is granted.

The inspector will be checking the applicant has the following:

  • a specialist knowledge in the species they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare. This would include the animal's 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 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.

Duration of licences

The Secretary of State guidance includes a risk based system that must be used when issuing animal activity licences.

The inspection findings will be fed into the following scoring matrix which determines both the licence duration (either one, two or three years), but also a star rating which will be given to a business. This matrix does not apply to the activity of keeping or training animals for exhibition, which will all receive a three year licence.

What happens if my licence application is refused?

The council must refuse to issue a licence if it considers that the applicant cannot meet the licence conditions. The granting of a licence will have a negative impact on animal welfare or if the level of accommodation, staffing or management is inadequate for the well-being of animals. A licence cannot be issued to an operator who is disqualified. See Legislation.gov - The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 for more information.

The applicant will have the right of appeal to a First-tier Tribunal within 28 days of the decision notice.

What can I do if I disagree with my star rating?

Initially we would encourage you to speak to the Inspecting Officer. If you are still not satisfied you can make a written appeal to the council within 21 days of the licence being issued.

In the first instance the appeal will be considered by a Manager within the Environmental Health Department. If you are still not satisfied following the appeal you may have the matter referred for Judicial Review.

Following making improvements can I apply for a re-evaluation of my star rating?

Yes, this involves a re-inspection and a fee is payable. 

What conditions will be attached to a licence?

The regulations prescribe general licence conditions contained in Legislation.gov - The Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 Schedule 2 of the regulations that will be attached to all licences, and specific licence conditions contained in Legislation.gov - The Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 Schedules 3 - 7 of the regulations that will apply to individual licences depending on the licensable activities.