Animal licensing changes 2018


The Government has published the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 under section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.  The effect of the new regulations is to replace some existing licensing regimes and to put in place a new licensing regime to control 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 come into effect on 1st October 2018 and will introduce a new licensing regime to replace the licensing and registration regimes currently in place under the following 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

If you have a licence under one of the above pieces of legislation that is in force on 1st October 2018, it will continue to be valid until it is due to expire.  You will then need to apply for a licence under the new regulations.

The new fee structure

The agreed fee structure is broken down into two parts:

Part A Costs – Application Phase
  • Administration Process (Liaison with customers, checking and enter application on system, Managerial oversight)
  • Financial process (Collection of fees)
  • Inspectors Input (review applications, arrange Vet visits (as appropriate), initial inspection with vet (inc travel), review licence detail/conditions,
  • CPT Managerial Oversight (Review reports, assist with decisions, strategic overview and appeals)
  • Miscellaneous costs (spread across all licences) – Officer training, website maintenance, general advice, equipment inc vehicle costs,  fee setting and committee matters
  • Return of statistics to DEFRA
Part B Costs – Licensed phase (only for successful applications)
  • Enforcement of unlicensed activities and enforcement/investigation of complaints at licensed establishments
  • Additional costs for other services e.g. vet required to attend premises for complaint investigation
  • An unannounced visit required per licence, spread over the period of the licence
  • Refunded if the application is unsuccessful

All new applications will be subject to additional vet fees which will vary based on time spent on site and travel expenses.

By law, all fees, including any vets fees, must be paid before a licence can be issued

Applications issued from 1 October 2018 onwards will need to apply for their renewal a minimum of 10 weeks before their expiry date.  Failure to do so may mean the application is treated as a new application and a vet inspection could be requested.

The fees themselves have been calculated in accordance with DEFRA guidance and are designed to cover the anticipated costs of regulating each activity area. The fees are as follows:

Licensing Activity New Application (Not including vet fees) Renewal (No vet fee)
Part A Part BTotal Part A Part B Total
Boarding Kennels Up to 50 dogs £260 £200 £460 £225 £200 £425
51 or more dogs £295 £230 £525 £255 £230 £485
Boarding Cattery Up to 50 cats £245 £180 £425 £210 £180 £390
51 or more cats £260 £200 £460 £225 £200 £425
Selling of animals All types £280 £215 £495 £240 £215 £455
Home boarding and day care Up to 4 £245 £180 £425 £210 £180 £390
5 or more dogs £260 £200 £460 £225 £200 £425
Riding establishments Up to 10 horses £280 £215 £495 £240 £215 £455
11 or more horses £310 £245 £555 £270 £245 £515
Performing animals All types £230 £165 £395 £190 £165 £355
Breeding establishments Up to 5 dogs £230 £165 £395 £190 £165 £355
6-10 dogs £245 £180 £425 £210 £180 £390
11+ dogs £260 £200 £460 £225 £200 £425

Guidance from DEFRA

The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has now 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.

You will need to meet the requirements of all the minimum standards, although minor failings may be noted/recorded providing they do not compromise the welfare of the animals (these should be predominantly administrative in nature). In addition each licensable activity (with the exception of the keeping or training animals for exhibition) also stipulates further optional conditions for “Higher Standards”.

The procedural guidance and other guidance notes can be downloaded below:

Procedural Guidance for Animal Activity Licensing 2018

Guidance notes for conditions for breeding dogs

Guidance notes for conditions for providing boarding in kennels for dogs

Guidance notes for conditions for providing home boarding for dogs

Guidance notes for conditions for providing day care for dogs

Guidance notes for conditions for providing boarding for cats

Guidance notes for conditions for selling animals as pets

Guidance notes for conditions for keeping or training animals for exhibition

Guidance notes for conditions for hiring out horses

“We are currently updating our application process and are awaiting clarification from DEFRA.  If you would like to register an interest in relation to the activities listed above please email animallicensing@maidstone.gov.uk.  Please read the prescribed guidance provided by DEFRA to ensure your business is ready for the changes.  These are now the national standard conditions and will be applied to all relevant activity licences. Please use the same email address if you would like to raise a concern about a licenced or unlicensed activity in the Maidstone area.”

Who can apply for a licence

Any individual, who will be designated as the operator of the business, can apply for a licence providing they:

  • can demonstrate that they are a fit and proper person to carry out the licensable activity and meet the licence conditions; and
  • are not disqualified from holding a licence in accordance with Regulation 11 and Schedule 8.

Applying for a licence

Licence applications must be submitted in writing along with any supporting information and the appropriate fee. We are currently revising our application forms and these will be available shortly through our licensing partnership with Sevenoaks and can be found at https://www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/licensing.

The Council will notify licence holders when their existing licence will expire (3 months prior to expiry) and licence holders must make a new application at least 10 weeks before the licence expires to continue the activity without a break.

How long does a licence last

Licences can be issued for a period of either one, two or three years depending on the risk rating and level of compliance. This also corresponds with the Star Rating for the establishment.

Scoring matrix to determine length of licence

Welfare Standards
Minor Failings
(existing business that are failing to meet minimum standards)
Minimum Standards
(as laid down in the schedules and guidance)
Higher Standards
(as laid down in the guidance)
Risk Low Risk
1 Star

1 Year Licence

Minimum of 1 unannounced visit within 12 month period

3 Star

2 Year Licence

Minimum of 1 unannounced visit within 24 month period

5 Star

3 Year Licence

Minimum of 1 unannounced visit within 36 month period

Higher Risk
1 Star

1 Year Licence

Minimum of 1 unannounced visit within 12 month period

2 Star

1 Year Licence

Minimum of 1 unannounced visit within 12 month period

4 Star

2 Year Licence

Minimum of 1 unannounced visit within 24 month period

Licences for the keeping or training animals for exhibition are issued for three years.

What will happen if I do not comply with the conditions of my licence?

The new Regulations introduce a range of enforcement powers to allow the Council to issue a suspension, variation or revocation notice where licence conditions are not being complied with; there is a breach of the regulations or issues relating to the protection of the welfare of an animal.

The service of an enforcement notice is subject to a strict process and includes for the provision of the right to representation and appeal.


Frequently asked questions

We have put together a list of frequently asked questions that may answer some of your additional queries in relation to the new licensing legislation.

What standards/conditions will I be expected to meet to obtain a licence?

Open

DEFRA has produced mandatory conditions and associated guidance for each licensable activity. These are divided into two categories namely General Conditions (stipulated in Schedule 2) and Specific Conditions from the associated Schedule of the Regulations.

You will need to meet the requirements of all the minimum standards, although minor failings may be noted/recorded providing they do not compromise the welfare of the animals (these should be predominantly administrative in nature).

In addition each licensable activity (with the exception of the keeping or training animals for exhibition) also stipulates further optional conditions for “Higher Standards”.

Specific details will be stipulated on the inspection report.

How is the Risk Rating assessed?

Open

Existing operators will be risk rated against a standard 14 point criteria checklist which considers a number of factors relating to compliance history, complaints, welfare standards and management standards. This scoring system will determine if they are rated as either low (a score of 17 or less) or high (a score of 18 or more).

All new businesses which do not have compliance history with a Local Authority or UKAS accredited scheme will be rated as high risk.

Licences for the keeping or training animals for exhibition are not risk rated.

What are the “Higher Standards”?

Open

For each activity (except keeping or training animals for exhibition) a number of “higher standards” have been agreed. Meeting the higher standards is optional but is the only way to gain the highest star rating. The higher standards are classified into two categories – required (mandatory) and optional. These will usually be colour coded into blue and red respectively. To qualify as meeting the higher standards the business must achieve all the required (mandatory) standards as well as a minimum of 50% of the optional higher standards.

How is the licence application assessed?

Open

All licence applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • an assessment of the operator (applicant) as to whether they are a fit and proper person to carry out the licensable activity, their knowledge, experience, compliance history, ability to meet their licence conditions and whether they are currently disqualified from making an application;
  • an inspection of the site of the licensable activity by a suitably qualified inspector (and where applicable accompanied by a registered veterinarian);
  • the submission of the inspectors report which will contain information about the operator, details of the premises, records, conditions of the animals, the risk rating score, compliance details and a statement on whether licence conditions will be met;
  • the payment of the appropriate licence fee.

What information is provided with the licence?

Open

Where a licence is issued the Council will provide the following details:

  • the Licence with the Star Rating;
  • details of how the business has been rated including a list of the higher standards the business currently fails to meet or a list of the minimum standards the business is failing to meet and resulting in a “minor failing” category;
  • a copy of the risk management assessment table;
  • details of the appeals process and timescales.

What can I do if I am unhappy/disagree with the star rating awarded to me?

Open

To ensure fairness to the business, the Council must have an appeals procedure in place for the operator to dispute the star rating given.

The business will be provided with supportive information (the inspection reports) which will highlight the inspecting officer’s decision on how the risk rating, compliance level and star rating has been determined.

The appeal must be made in writing within 21 days and will be assessed and determined by an appointed manager within the Department. If the business disagrees with the outcome of the appeal they can challenge the decision by means of judicial review.

The business is encouraged to discuss the matter initially with the inspecting officer where possible.

A business may wish to apply for a re-inspection or re-rating on a chargeable basis following completion of works to rectify any non-compliance or improvements to achieve higher standards.

Are the licence details and star rating displayed?

Open

DEFRA has encouraged Councils to maintain a list of licensed businesses and their associated ratings on their websites.

The Council will review this optional procedure in April 2019 – no information will be displayed prior to this date.

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