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Cookies

Cookies explained

  • What is a cookie?

    A cookie is a small, often encrypted, text file, which is created on your device when you visit a website that uses cookies. This file is stored on your device's hard drive, and is read by your web browser. Contrary to what many people may believe, this file is not a virus and it cannot harm your computer.

  • How are cookies used?

    Cookies are used to perform a variety of functions. These can be categorised as below.

    Strictly necessary cookies
    These cookies are essential in order to enable you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies services you have asked for, like shopping baskets or e-billing, cannot be provided.

    Performance cookies
    These cookies collect information about how you use a website and report any error messages from relevant webpages. For example website owners will use performance cookies to follow which webpages you’ve read to determine which parts of a website are most engaging. Information collected using these cookies is aggregated and therefore anonymous. In general, these cookies are used to help improve how a website works from both a user and technical perspective.

    Functionality cookies
    These cookies allow websites to remember choices you make (for example, your user name, language or the region you are in) and provide enhanced, more personal features such as local weather reports. These cookies can also be used to remember changes you have made to text size, fonts and other parts of webpages that you can customise. They may also be used to provide services you have asked for such as watching a video. The information these cookies collect may be anonymised and they cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.

    Targeting or Advertising Cookies
    These cookies are used to deliver adverts more relevant to you and your interests. They are also used to limit the number of times you see an advertisement as well as help measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. They are usually placed by advertising networks with the website owner’s permission. They remember that you have visited a website and this information is shared with other organisations such as advertisers. Quite often targeting or advertising cookies will be linked to website functionality provided by the other organisation.

  • How long do cookies last?

    Depending on their use, cookies can last for different lengths of time.

    Session cookies are created temporarily and are only stored for as long as you browse the website. They expire as soon as you leave the website or when you close your web browser.

    Persistent cookies remain on your device for a fixed period of time which is defined within the cookie. This allows the website to recognise your device again when you return to that website from your device.

  • Who sets the cookie?

    First party cookies are set by the website that you are visiting and can only be read by that website.

    Third party cookies are set by an entity other than the owner of the website. This might be for the purposes of advertising, website measurement, or being able to watch a video on the website.

  • What are Flash cookies

    Adobe uses a particular type of cookie called a ‘Local Shared Object’, which is typically collected if you watch a video for example that uses the Adobe Flash media player, i.e. an embedded YouTube video on a page that is being played via Flash. Please note that these types of cookie will not be found on iPads, which do not support Flash. Have a look at Adobe's website if you want to control Flash cookies on your device. If you’ve got a Firefox browser you can also get an add-on to detect and delete Flash cookies.

  • What is a web beacon?

    Web beacons, sometimes referred to as ‘web bugs’, are small single-pixel transparent image files. They allow website owners to know when a visitor has reached their website and are used in conjunction with cookies to allow further website tracking. These files are not viruses and are useful in helping website owners to make your web-browsing experience better.

Managing cookies

Most web browsers are pre-set to accept cookies but if you prefer not to receive cookies, you can adjust your browser settings to refuse cookies, or to warn you when they are being used. If you have a little more time and knowledge, you can allow only certain ‘trusted’ websites to store cookies on your device.

It’s worth bearing in mind that if you decide to delete all your cookies, then you will probably have to re-enter all your usernames and passwords on all the sites that you visit, which you previously didn’t have to do. Cookies can be a real asset to your web-browsing experience.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (https://ico.org.uk/) provides some advice about cookies and their use, as does About Cookies (www.aboutcookies.org), which is run by the law firm Pinsent Masons. This website provides more information about cookies and shows you how to remove cookies or allow those trusted websites to store their cookies on your device.

Cookies used on our website

The aim of the cookies list below is to provide you with an understanding as to what types of cookies we use on our website.

We have tried to cover all cookies in this list that we or our technology partners use. Please be aware that there may be a delay in updating this list. If you do notice any discrepancies, please contact us and let us know.

datr, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, wd

These cookies are used when you 'Like' an article or product that is published on our website. The cookies are used by facebook to authenticate you as a user to the social media site if you aren't already logged in.

__utma

This cookie is used to identify unique visitors to our website. The results are sent to our Google Analytics account, so that we can see how many unique visitors come to the site over a period of time.

__utmb

This cookie is used by Google Analytics to determine the visitor session times on our website. Each time you visit a new webpage on the website, the cookie is set to expire within 30 minutes. If it does not find an existing cookie, a new one is created.

__utmc

This cookie is used by Google Analytics in conjunction with __utmb to determine visitor sessions. Unlike __utmb, this cookie does not have an expiry date. It determines whether a new session should be created based on whether you have previously closed your browser, re-opened it and come back to the website.

__utmv

This cookie is used by Google Analytics to determine the type of visitor that visits our website. The cookie determines the user's preferences based on which webpages they visit, so that we may use this data to understand which are the most popular webpages and why people visit the website.

__utmz

This cookie is used by Google Analytics to determine the type of referral used by each visitor to arrive at our website. The cookie determines if the user has come directly to our website or via a search engine, e-mail or e-mail campaign. We use this data to understand how our users arrive at our website.

__has_js

This cookie is only used when a visitor has JavaScript enabled. JavaScript is a web-development tool, which allows us to provide dynamic content to improve your web-browsing experience. This cookie is used to remember if a repeat visitor has JavaScript enabled, so that webpage loading times can be decreased.