Chester Zoo to create new wildlife habitats and visitor accommodation with Green Loan from Santander UK

  • Chester Zoo to create new wildlife habitats and visitor accommodation that will open to the public in 2025
  • Santander UK provides funding package, including a ‘Green’ Loan, to support the developments
  • Developments in plan include new habitats for African species and a hotel


Santander UK has provided long-time client Chester Zoo with a funding package, comprising a revolving credit facility and a ‘Green’ Loan, to support its development of new wildlife habitats and visitor accommodation.

The funding supports Chester Zoo’s latest developments - part of its long-term strategic development plan - to continue to attract visitors and fund its vital, species-saving conservation projects long into the future.

This includes: 

•    A new Africa zone, which will bring together a range of different habitats from savannah to bush land to rich plains. It will be home to multiple rare and endangered species including giraffes, zebra, ostrich and antelope. 
•    A new lodge-style hotel – giving visitors the opportunity to stay overnight and immerse themselves in wildlife habitats and observe animals at close proximity. 

Construction is already underway on the African habitats, and work is scheduled to start on the hotel later this year. Both are due to open to the public in spring 2025. 

The Green Loan supports construction of the hotel , which will be developed to a BREEAM Very Good standard and through a variety of sustainability measures will target an Energy Performance Certificate A rating, and is aligned to the Loan Market Association’s Green Loan Principles and Santander’s Sustainable Finance Classification System.

Chester Zoo has banked with Santander UK for ten years. Over that time, the bank has provided funding to support a number of the zoo’s developments including its Islands zone featuring species from the Philippines, Papua, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba, and Sulawesi.

Over the next decade, Chester Zoo will continue to develop the zoo, aligning its wildlife habitats to the conservation work that its teams undertake both in the zoo and across the world in support of its mission to prevent extinction. 

Liz Carnie, Corporate Director at Chester Zoo said: “Our new African zone and overnight accommodation will put a spotlight on a whole host of highly threatened species from the African continent. These important new additions to our zoo will ensure we can continue to attract visitors for years and years to come, which is key to funding our vital species-saving work long into the future. At a time when a million species are faced with extinction and global biodiversity under huge threat, these projects will give a major boost to our charity and the conservation work we carry out, here in Chester and right across the world.” 

Jo Phipson, Regional Managing Director, Santander UK said: “Having been Chester Zoo’s banking partner for the past decade, we are pleased to provide this latest funding, which includes the zoo’s first Green Loan. Santander UK is very proud to support this charity which has a such a strong focus on preserving biodiversity and providing environmental education and we look forward to working with the zoo as it continues its important work over the years to come.”

Santander UK was advised by Addleshaw Goddard LLP and Chester Zoo by Hill Dickinson LLP and Knights Debt Advisory.

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