Cookie Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a small file of information which a web server stores on a user's computer to record their preferences and other pieces of information.
The cookie is set through a request by a web server to a web browser such as Internet Explorer, or Mozilla Firefox. A cookie is composed of two parts, its name and its content.

What are the advantages of cookies?

A cookie contains information linked from the user to a specific website. If you access the same website again, the web server can read from and react to the information that it has stored to provide a more user-friendly experience.

Cookies are used to store information relating to online offers and services, eg language preferences, privacy settings, and shopping habits, so that you receive more relevant information in a form that is suitable to you.

What data do cookies store?

Our cookies do not store any personal or sensitive information, or anything that makes you personally identifiable. Most cookies are used to record information such as: how you found our website, which pages you viewed, and how long you spent on the site. Cookies are also used to store information such as: language settings and accessibility settings.

We do need personal details for some services, for instance if you want to use our online shop, and so that you can use the shop more quickly on return visits, or if you complete an online form.

How long do cookies last?

Different cookies are stored for different lengths of time. For instance, cookies designed to track how you found us expire after six months. Cookies used to establish and continue a unique user session are updated each time you request another page from the website, and the cookie is set to expire after 30 minutes. Cookies which allow us to identify subsequent visits to our website as belonging to the same (unique) visitor expire after two years. You can view a full list of our cookies used on this website.

Are cookies transferred to other websites?

No, only the web server that sent the cookie can access it again when a user returns to a website associated with that web server.

Why do organisations use cookies?

We use the data that is collected to report, in aggregate, how our visitors find and use our website. We use those reports to understand overall visitor behaviour, and we use that understanding to update and improve our website. For instance, we use cookies to calculate the amount of 'traffic' to our site and to look at navigation through the site, so that we can see the most popular pages and routes to information.

Can cookies damage my computer?

No, a cookie is entirely passive and does not contain software programs, or spyware that can be used to illegally intercept data. Cookies cannot carry viruses, and do not have access to the information on your hard drive.

Why are you asking me to opt-in now?

All website owners with a UK presence are required to obtain informed consent from website users and subscribers in order to store information on their devices. This requirement came into force on 26 May 2012, following the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011.

The directive is intended to increase users' control over their own privacy when they access a website. Cookies must not be used unless the user is provided with clear and comprehensive information about the purposes of the storage of, or access to, that information, and has given his or her consent.

How can I opt out of cookies?

Simply view our list of cookies this provides information on how to opt out.

Are there any exceptions to the request for approval?

Only cookies that are deemed 'strictly necessary' for a service requested by the user are exempted from this requirement.

Will I still be able to use the website if I opt out of cookies?

You will still be able to use the website, but you will not receive a service based on your preferences.

Will I have to opt-in every time I visit the website?

If you do not accept cookies, you will be prompted to opt-in every time you visit the website. If you accept all cookies, you will not be asked again, provided you are using the same computer.

Can I opt-out later on?

Yes, Simply view our list of cookies this provides information on how to opt out.

How can I find out more about your use of cookies?

You can read about our use of cookies on this website at the top of this page. If you have any further questions, please email