Buckinghamshire Council Animal Licensing Policy consultation

Closed 31 May 2023

Opened 20 Apr 2023

Feedback updated 7 Mar 2024

We asked

We asked for views on our draft Animal Licensing Policy for Buckinghamshire Council. 

The consultation ran from 20 April to 31 May 2023. 

You said

We received 26 responses to the consultation: 

  • 25 to the online survey 
  • 1 printed survey 

61.5% of respondents agreed that applicants should provide evidence of a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to hold a licence. 26.9% did not agree and 11.5% ‘didn’t know’. 

80.7% of respondents agreed that applicants and licence holders whose activities involve contact with children and vulnerable people should have a safeguarding policy and provide staff training. 7.6% did not agree and 11.5% ‘didn’t know’. 

76.% of respondents found the policy either ‘very easy’ or ‘somewhat easy’ to understand. 19.2% found the policy ‘not very easy to understand’. 

View the report to Licensing (Regulatory) Committee on 7 November 2023. 

We did

We made the following amendments to the policy following feedback: 

  • clarified that existing licence holders will be required to complete a DBS check when they next complete a renewal application 
  • a more detailed outline of the AWA 2006 has been provided in section of 4 of the amended draft policy, to more accurately summarise what is set out in the Act 
  • updated the policy to reflect that as of 1 October all inspectors carrying out LAIA licence inspections must be suitably qualified and no longer have any grandfather rights 
  • created a new section setting out the Council’s expectation that all licence holders will update the licensing service of any significant changes in circumstances, incidents relating to their licence, arrests, cautions or convictions for animal welfare offences as it was felt that this applied to all licence types, not just LAIA licences. Licence holders must also notify the licensing service of any bail conditions which may affect how they are able to operate their business.
  • Appendix 3 of the draft policy “Standard Zoo Licence Conditions” has been updated to reflect the most current APHA’s recommended wording for licence conditions which have been provided by a state appointed inspector during a recent periodical zoo inspection. 

At its meeting on 7 November 2023, Buckinghamshire Council’s Licensing Committee approved the adoption of the Animal Licensing Policy (PDF2.78MB)

The policy will be implemented from 1 April 2024.  


Buckinghamshire Council logo

We want to hear your views on our draft Animal Licensing Policy for Buckinghamshire Council.

As the Licensing Authority, we have legal responsibilities for the licensing of several activities relating to the welfare of animals. This includes licensing:

  • operators of businesses:
    • breeding dogs
    • hiring out horses
    • keeping or training animals for exhibition
    • providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs
    • selling animals as pets
  • keepers of dangerous wild animals
  • zoos

This policy will cover the Buckinghamshire Council area and replace any animal licensing policies from the previous district councils.

A single Buckinghamshire Council Animal Licensing Policy will set out a clear and consistent framework for applicants, licence holders and others affected by it.

Draft Buckinghamshire Council Animal Licensing Policy

The draft policy sets out:

  • our role in animal welfare and relevant legislation
  • guidance on application processes
  • what we consider when deciding licence applications
  • our approach to enforcement
  • our approach to animal licensing fees

The draft policy aims to ensure:

  • there is fairness and consistency for operators of animal related businesses
  • that anyone responsible for the management of animal welfare follow standards of good practice
  • residents feel confident that licensed businesses offer a good standard of animal welfare and comply with legislation

Our draft policy has been developed in accordance with all animal licensing legislation and statutory guidance. In addition, we are proposing further safeguarding measures.

More Information

Under this policy, applicants will be required to provide evidence of a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (or “basic disclosure”). This is a check of someone’s criminal record.

The DBS certificate must be no more than one month old at the time of the application.

Existing licence holders will be required to provide evidence of a DBS check on renewal.

More Information

The main aim of animal licensing is to maintain and improve animal welfare standards. We are aware that some licensable activities may involve unsupervised contact with children and / or vulnerable persons.

We would expect applicants and licence holders whose activities involve contact with children or vulnerable persons to:

  • have a written safeguarding policy and provide training for staff
  • have a procedure for vetting staff who have unsupervised contact with young / vulnerable persons

We are not setting any specific standards in relation to these requirements, but each case will be considered on its own merits.

More Information

The draft policy follows statutory guidance produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and guidance from other relevant organisations.

We have also engaged with current licence holders and other relevant stakeholders to develop this draft.

For more information about its development, see the draft Buckinghamshire Council Animal Licensing Policy (PDF 0.38MB).

More Information

There are types of animal related businesses that do not currently require a licence. These include:

  • animal rescue centres
  • livery yards
  • dog walkers
  • dog groomers and similar

Some areas of animal health are dealt with by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading standards. There are cases where there may be overlap of responsibilities.

Related documents

Before you respond to this consultation, please have a look at the following document:

How to have your say

You can tell us your views in one of the following ways:

If you have any questions about this consultation, please email us at licensing@buckinghamshire.gov.uk or phone us on 01296 585605.

Please tell us your views by midnight on Wednesday 31 May 2023.

What happens next

We will use your responses to develop the final draft of the Buckinghamshire Council Animal Licensing Policy.

The policy will then be presented to our Licensing Committee for approval and adoption in Summer 2023.

We will review the policy to reflect any changes in animal licensing legislation. We will carry out a formal review at least every 5 years.


We will use the information you provide here only for this activity. We will store the information securely in line with data protection laws and will not share or publish any personal details. For more information about data and privacy, please see our Privacy Policy.

If you have questions about data and privacy, please email us on dataprotection@buckinghamshire.gov.uk. Or write to our Data Protection Officer at Buckinghamshire Council, The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, HP19 8FF.


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