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Animal activity licences

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 took effect on 1 October 2018. The regulations were made by the Secretary of State under section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and introduced a new licensing regime for anyone carrying out one or more of the following “licensable activities” –

  • Selling animals as pets
  • Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs
  • Hiring out horses
  • Breeding dogs
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition

The regulations repealed and replaced the previous licensing regimes that were in place under the following pieces of legislation:

  • Pet Animals Act 1951
  • Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • Riding Establishments Acts 1964 & 1970
  • Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 & Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999
  • Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925

Anyone carrying on any of the above licensable activities in the Council’s area requires a licence from the Council to do so.

Guidance

The Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published procedural guidance for local authorities in relation to the new regulations, along with guidance notes on the conditions that will apply to licences issued to authorise the different licensable activities.

The guidance notes for each licensable activity also provide guidance on whether an individual requires a licence or not, which will depend on their individual circumstances.

The procedural guidance and other guidance notes can be downloaded from the Worcestershire Regulatory Services website:

Animal Activity Licences at Worcestershire Regulatory Services

Or directly from the DEFRA website:

Animal activities licensing: guidance for local authorities

Apply by post

The application form should be completed and returned with the relevant fee and documents referred to on the form to:

Wyre Forest District Council, Finepoint Way, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, DY11 7WF

You can download the application form here:

Application form (DOC) / Application Form (PDF)

Fees

Licensing and registration fees

Depending on which licensable activities you are applying for a licence for, we may be required to appoint a vet to inspect the premises. The costs of any required vet inspection are NOT covered by the application or licence fees and must be paid for by the applicant separately. If your application requires us to appoint a vet, you will be invoiced by Worcestershire Regulatory Services to recover the costs they incur in relation to the vet’s inspection and the production of their report.

View further guidance on fees. 

Star Rating Scheme

The Procedural Guidance describes the risk-based system that must be used when issuing licences under the Regulations with the exception of “Keeping or Training Animals for Exhibition” where all licences are issued for 3 years.

Use of this system determines both the length of the licence and the star rating that will be awarded. Local authorities in England are expected to follow it in full.

Guidance on the star rating scheme

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please get in touch.

Dangerous Wild Animals and Zoos

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 do not affect the licensing of those who keep dangerous wild animals or operate zoos. These continue to be licensed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and the Zoo Licensing Act 1981

More information on obtaining a licence to keep dangerous wild animals or operate a zoo can be found here:

Dangerous Wild Animals Licence

Zoo Licence

 

Further guidance on fees

Application Fees (Row A)

When applying for the grant or renewal of a licence under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018, the applicant must pay the relevant “application fee,” as shown in column A on the table of fees, when submitting their application form

The application fee covers the cost of administering the application and carrying out the required inspection to determine whether a licence can be granted or not.

When the relevant premises has been inspected and a decision is made that a licence can be issued, the officer who has carried out the inspection will also carry out the required assessment of risk which will determine the star rating that will apply to the licence and the length of licence that will be issued. The costs of this assessment are also covered by the application fee.

If applying for a licence to carry out more than one licensable activity, only one application fee needs to be paid, that being the highest applicable application fee.

Licence Fees (Rows B, C and D)

Before a licence can be issued the relevant licence fee(s) for the activities the licence will authorise must be paid. The relevant fees for one year licences are shown in column B on the fees table, two year licence fees are shown in column C and three year licence fees are shown in column D.

Whilst only one application fee needs to be paid, that being the highest applicable application fee, the relevant licence fee(s) must be paid for each activity the licence will authorise.

For example, someone applying for a licence to provide boarding in kennels for dogs and also breed dogs, and who has been awarded a one year licence, will need to pay:

1 x application fee (£329.00) at the point of making the application. 2 x licence fees (£184.00 + £184.00 = £368) before the licence can be issued.

The licence fees cover the costs on ongoing compliance and enforcement activities, including unannounced inspections, responding to complaints and investigating and taking appropriate action against unlicensed businesses.

Fees to Apply for Variation of a Licence (Row E)

A licence holder may apply to vary their licence, for example to increase their star rating following a requested re-inspection or to amend any other details shown on the licence. Anyone applying to vary their licence will need to pay the relevant variation fees shown in column E when making their application. A variation fee will need to be paid in respect of each licensable activity authorised by the licence.

This fee will cover the cost of processing the variation application and any local authority officer inspections that are required as a result. 

Vet Fees (Column F)

Some applications will necessitate the local authority appointing a vet to carry out an inspection. Where this is the case, any costs incurred by the local authority as a result of having to engage a vet, will be invoiced to the applicant / licence holder at cost.

Failure to pay an invoice for vet fees may mean that the licence will not be issued or, if a licence has already been issued, may lead to the suspension or revocation of the licence. Civil debt recovery procedures will also be initiated in such circumstances.

Requested Inspection Fees (Row G)

Where a licence holder requests an additional inspection, they will need to pay the relevant fee shown in row G.

A licence holder may request an inspection in order to try and improve their star rating during the term of their licence.

Licences to keeping or train animals for exhibition

The Regulations and associated guidance make clear that licences that authorise the holder to keep or train animals for exhibition are not subject to the risk assessment process and such licences are automatically granted for three years if the required minimum standards are met.

As a result, the fees for licences to carry on this activity are lower and there is no one year or two year licence fee.

If an applicant is applying for a licence to keep or train animals for exhibition and another licensable activity (such as selling animals as pets) they will need to pay the higher application fee only.

If a licence is subsequently granted, the length of licence issued will be determined by the lowest star rating awarded in respect of the other licensable activities authorised by the licence.

All relevant licence fees will need to be paid in accordance with the length of licence issued, but where the licence contains authorisation to keep or train animals for exhibition, no further licence fees will be required for a period of three years from the date the licence is issued.

The two fees cover different costs. The application fee covers the cost of administering the application and carrying out the required inspection to determine whether a licence can be granted or not. The licence fees cover the ongoing costs of compliance and enforcement activities, including unannounced inspections, responding to complaints and taking appropriate action against unlicensed businesses.

Applicants who are refused a licence following inspection will not have to pay any licence fees, but will not receive a refund of their application fee. Unsuccessful applicants will also remain liable for any vet fees incurred in determining their application.

The regulations have significantly altered the licensing regime and have imposed additional duties onto local authorities, including a requirement to carry out far more inspections than under previous licensing regimes in place. As a result, the Council is having to put more resources into this area of work and has therefore had to set fees at a level that allows them to recover their full costs in carrying out their new licensing responsibilities.

The fees will be kept under review to ensure that they are fully recovering the local authority’s costs and also to ensure that they not leading to a surplus.

The relevant district Council to whom you are applying. Cheques should NOT be made payable to Worcestershire Regulatory Services

No – with the exception of licences for keeping or training animals for exhibition, the length of licence is determined by the star rating achieved following the inspection. The fee for the relevant length of licence must be paid before the licence is issued.

No licences will be issued until such time as all application and licence fees have been paid in full. To allow payments by instalment would significantly increase the local authority’s administration costs, which would have to be reflected in higher licence fees.

Over the course of three years, it is significantly cheaper to have held a three-year licence than three one-year licences.

For example the cost of holding a three-year licence for hiring out horses is:

Application fee: £329.00

3 year licence fee: £546.00

Total £875.00

The cost of three one-year licences to carry out the same activity would be:

Application fee: £329.00

1 year licence fee: £184.00

Total: £513.00 x 3 = £1539.00

Therefore over the course of three years, someone awarded a three year licence will have paid £664.00, approximately 43%, less in application and licence fees.

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