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Zoo licences

Anyone keeping wild animals, defined in Section 21 of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981, for the purpose of public display must have a zoo licence.

This excludes circuses, pet shops or registered establishments for carrying out animal experiments.

Licences are renewed annually and run from 1 January to 31 December.

We work in close partnership with DEFRA (Department for food and rural affairs) on all aspects of zoo licensing. You can visit their website for more information on the inspection process.


The cost of a Zoo licence in the Lewes district is £590.00 plus the vet's fees. There will also be an extra cost from the zoo inspectors.

How to apply

Apply online

You can apply and pay online at

Apply by post

There is also the option to apply by post, please contact us for further information. 

Application requirements

Two months before applying you must:

  • Write to us to give notice of your intention    
  • Publish a notice of intention in a local and a national newspaper    
  • Exhibit this notice at the intended site

Application process

Once we receive your application and fee we will arrange for a Zoo Inspector from DEFRA and one of our officers to inspect the premises. You will also need to have a vet present.

The Zoo Inspector will make the decision whether to grant the licence or not. A licence will be subject to conditions. An initial licence will be granted for four years. Following this a renewed licence will run for six years.

We will inspect the premises yearly and a Zoo Inspector will carry out n inspection every two years for the initial licence. 

The Zoo inspectors fees will be payable by the licence holder.

Register of licences

We keep a public register of all licences issued and held within the Lewes district. Search online for details now.




If you would like to discuss the fees for a zoo licence in Eastbourne, please contact us.

How to apply

Apply online

Apply by post

Please download and complete the form below.

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