Section 3: The application process (new and renewal applications)
Under the Regulations local authorities are the licensing authority for AWEs. If you wish to apply for a licence you should contact your local authority licensing team.
The Regulations include a provision that allows the licensing authority to charge a fee for the consideration and granting of a licence. Any fee payable will be confirmed by the licensing authority at the time of application.
Upon receipt of a valid application for a licence and payment of any fee the licensing authority will arrange for an inspection of the premises on which the licensable activity is to be undertaken. A key requirement of the inspection is to gather information about whether the applicant is meeting, or can demonstrate that they are ready to meet the conditions for holding a licence. The inspector's report is required to provide the licensing authority with information on:
- the applicant,
- the suitability of the premises for the proposed activity,
- any relevant records,
- the condition of any animals, and
- any other relevant matter the inspector considers relevant.
The other relevant matters referred to above would normally include:
- the staffing ratio,
- staff experience and, where applicable, staff qualifications,
- the quality of record keeping or the likelihood of the applicant keeping records that meet the record keeping requirements set out in the general and activity specific licence conditions in the Regulations.
In addition, the inspector's report must state whether in the inspector's opinion the applicant is likely or capable of meeting both the general licence conditions (set out in schedule 2 of the Regulations) and the activity specific licence conditions applicable to animal welfare establishments (schedule 5 of the Regulations).
The licensing authority will consider the inspector's report and use it to make an informed decision on whether or not to grant a licence to an applicant.
An inspector is a person appointed by the licensing authority for the purposes of the Regulations. A person does not need to be employed by the licensing authority in order to be appointed as an inspector.
The licensing authority, having considered the application submitted, and the report submitted by the inspector must either grant a licence or refuse it. Where the decision of the licensing authority is to refuse a licence it must notify the applicant accordingly, stating the reasons why and making clear the applicant's right to appeal the decision. The appeals process is covered in section 4 of this guidance.
Where the licensing authority decides to grant an animal welfare establishment licence it will attach the conditions that are set out in schedule 2 of the Regulations (the general conditions) and those at schedule 5 (animal welfare establishment specific conditions). The conditions of licence that must be complied with are set out in annexes A and B of this guidance. Guidance on the licence conditions is also provided to assist you in understanding your obligations as a licence holder. If you have any questions regarding particular conditions or have concerns about compliance with them you should seek further guidance from the relevant licensing authority.
Regulation 6(5) of the Regulations provides the licensing authority with flexibility to attach further licence conditions to any licence granted or renewed if considered necessary for the purposes of securing the welfare of animals for which any licence holder is or will be responsible. Where a licensing authority considers that the imposition of an additional condition or conditions is necessary, it must notify the applicant or licence holder of that decision by way of a notice under regulation 7 of the Regulations. Any such notice served will include information on the applicant's right to appeal the decision to impose additional conditions and the licensing authority's reason for the decision.
The licensing authority, having considered the application, any report submitted by an inspector and all other risk factors will issue a licence to operate an animal welfare establishment for a period of one, two or three years. Applicants have no say on licence duration.
Note that a person subject to a disqualification order of a type listed in regulation 13 of the Regulations is not permitted to apply for a licence. An application made by such a person will be refused.
The Regulations require the licensing authority to publish and maintain a register of all those holding a licence under the regulations. The rationale for the register and for making it available to the public is to enable prospective owners of pet animals to quickly and easily check whether the person they are dealing with is indeed licenced by the licensing authority.
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