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Will new guidance bring licensing consistency?
17th January 2022

Pet retailers can hope for a more consistent application of the licensing regime following the publication of new national guidance for local authorities.

The new document, which comes into effect on February 1, outlines the inspection procedure and star rating system for pet shops. Based on welfare standards found during the inspection and whether that business is deemed to be “low or high risk”, local authorities determine the term of pet shop licences – one, two or three years.

Businesses deemed low risk and meeting higher welfare standards will be granted higher star ratings, which in turn is likely to lead to ‘light touch’ licensing and potentially lower fees. The new legislation also provides the requirement for trained inspectors and the requirement for the training of licence holders and their staff.

The documents have been issued by the government to provide a structure for local authorities to use during the store inspection process, following the introduction of The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.

The guidance states that local authorities should provide written feedback on the star rating they have given to stores following the inspection, including details of the appeals process.

The Pet Industry Federation (PIF) runs a Primary Authority scheme, operated in partnership with the Corporation of London, which can be used by PIF member businesses to arbitrate if they encounter difficulties with their local authority or receive unusual licensing stipulations.

Are you happy with your inspection report and star rating? Let us know at editor@pbwnews.com