Updated EU regulations require us to provide site visitors with a description of the purpose of cookies and how they are used on our website. The regulations also require site visitors to consent to cookies being stored on their computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.
If you continue to use our website without changing your browser-based cookie settings, we will assume you are happy for us to store our cookies on your device. By using our website, you are giving your consent for the deployment of our cookies.
Should you choose to, you can change your cookie settings at any time – please read the ‘how can I control cookies’ section of this policy for advice on how to do this.
If you choose to block our cookies, some of the functionality of the website will not be available and this may adversely affect the performance and experience of the site.
If at any time we change the cookies, we will make sure you are aware by updating this policy. We recommend you re-visit this policy from time to time to ensure you remain up to date.
Please read the rest of this policy for information on the types and uses of cookies, and for a detailed description of the cookies we use.
What is a cookie?
A cookie is a small text file that is created and stored on your web browsing device by a website (or certain functional elements of a website).
Each cookie contains anonymous information (typically a unique identifier, the website name, and some digits and numbers), and is specific to your web browser.
Cookies can be used for a wide variety of tasks, such as storing your website preferences, enhancing navigation between pages and improving your user experience. Cookies help make the interaction between you and the website simpler, smoother and more intuitive.
Without cookies or similar technologies, websites would not easily be able to ‘remember’ who has previously visited them – logging into a website or adding items to a shopping basket would be much more complicated.
Types of cookies
Cookies can be created by the main website you are visiting (‘first party cookies’), or by other websites that are contributing (or ‘feeding’) content to the page you are viewing (‘third party cookies’).
Regardless of their source, cookies are given a lifespan when they are created – they will either exist for the duration of your visit on the website (‘session cookies’), or they will exist for a defined period after your visit (‘persistent cookies’) so that they are available if you return to the site.
A third ‘level’ of categorisation exists which groups cookies as:
- ‘strictly necessary’: enabling websites to provide certain core features or functions that are expected/requested.
- ‘performance’ orientated: improving the performance of the website, and the experience of the user.
- ‘functionality’ orientated: enhancing or adding non-essential functionality to website (for example, storing your preferences for return visits).
- ‘targeting’ orientated: enabling websites to ‘target’ advertising, marketing or other content based on the location and/or browsing habits (among others) of the user.
First party cookies and third party cookies
First party cookies are created, governed and accessed only by the main website you are visiting.
Third party cookies are created, governed and accessed by ‘external’ websites that are contributing content or functionality to the main website. The third party organisation responsible for these cookies may use them to track your journey or store your preferences across multiple websites.
Examples of typical third party content or functionality that may deploy their own cookies:
- user access tracking from external analytics companies, such as Google Analytics
- embedded videos from sites such as YouTube or Vimeo
- social sharing options from sites such as Facebook and Twitter
- content ‘feeds’ from sites such as Flickr and Twitter
Third party cookies are not, by default, governed or controlled by the first party website – setting cookie preferences on the website itself will only affect the deployment of first party cookies and not third party cookies.
To manage third party cookies, you should check the relevant third party website for advice. (Alternatively, use your browser settings to control the deployment of third party cookies.)
A note about Flash cookies
Adobe Flash Player is commonly used to deliver media rich content, such as video and interactive entertainment. Visit the Adobe Flash Player website for more information.
Adobe deploy their own third party cookies for use by the Flash Player and these are not manageable through the normal browser settings. Flash cookies work in a different way to ‘standard’ web browser cookies, and are not stored within the browser.)
Some web browser developers are preparing solutions to allow the control of Flash cookies through their browsers, but until these options are available we suggest visiting the Flash Player website to find out how to restrict or block Flash cookies.
Session cookies are temporary and only exist during your browsing session – once the browser is closed, they are deleted from the browsing device.
Session cookies are used for features like:
- remembering the contents of a shopping basket;
- ensuring uninterrupted but secure access to user accounts (for example, internet banking and email).
Persistent cookies are semi-permanent – they are saved to the browsing device for a fixed period (which could be a month, a year, or longer) and are retained when the browser is closed.
Persistent cookies are used for features like ‘remembering’ a user and their preferences across multiple browsing sessions.
Strictly necessary cookies
Cookies that provide features or functionality that are specifically requested/required (for example, enabling visitors to navigate through the site) are classed as ‘strictly necessary’.
Without these cookies, the website would not be able to provide site visitors with the service that they expect or need.
Features such as automatic sign in (which is typically requested using a ‘remember me’ option) would use a ‘strictly necessary’ cookie.
If browser settings are used to deactivate strictly necessary cookies, the website may become unusable. At the very least, it will no longer be possible to guarantee security or predict how the website will perform.
Cookies that help to improve the performance and/or user experience on a website are classed as ‘performance’ cookies.
Performance cookies can include those that collect information about how a visitor interacts with the website. These cookies do not collect any information that could be used to identify the visitor, or that could be used for marketing/advertising purposes.
The collected information is anonymous and used only to improve the relevant organisations understanding of how the website works, how effective it is at presenting its content and to help improve the understanding of what its visitors require.
Cookies that enhance the features, functionality and user experience on a website are classed as ‘functionality’ cookies.
Functionality cookies can include those that store details of your site preferences, allowing a website to ‘remember’ you and ensure that, when you have chosen a specific option on the site, your choices are retained for each visit.
If you have requested that content be tailored to your requirements, it is possible that a functionality cookie has been used to record this preference (for example, specifying your location to receive information specific to your area).
Cookies that attempt to automatically tailor content based on the visitors journey and interactions on a website are classed as ‘targeting’ cookies.
Targeting cookies are typically used for marketing and advertising purposes, delivering content which is relevant to the visitors’ interests and their browsing habits.
Targeting cookies are often governed by third party services.
- to monitor site visits and understand your usage of the website using Google Analytics. Please see Google’s cookie details page.
We do not collect any personal information in our cookies, we do not sell any of the information we collect and we do not disclose the information to third parties (except where required by law – for example, to government bodies and law enforcement agencies).
The following describes the cookies we use in more detail:
Google Analtytics (third party)
__utma | expires: 2 years
__utmb | expires: end of session
__utmc | expires: end of session
__utmz | 6 months
We use Google’s web analytics service (Google Analytics) to record site traffic. Google use these cookies to collect anonymous data, which we can then evaluate using their reporting tools. For more information, please see Google’s cookie details page.
AddThis (third party)
__atuvc | expires: 15 months
What to do if you don’t want cookies to be set
While cookies are generally harmless, you may find it preferable not to allow, for example, targeting cookies to monitor your browsing habits and display advertising that has been targeted to your interests. In these cases, it is possible to block some or all cookies and to delete cookies that have already been set.
Please note that while we do not use any ‘strictly necessary’ cookies at present, if you choose to block cookies, we cannot guarantee or predict how this website will perform during your visit.
How can I control cookies?
Please use your browser’s help option to find out how to perform these actions within your browser. Alternatively, comprehensive information for managing/deleting cookies on a variety of browsers/platforms is available on the All About Cookies website.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the EU cookie regulations. The ICO website features a guide to the directive and various aspects of cookies.
The All About Cookies website is a free resource for marketers and consumers which explains what cookies are and how they are used.