What are cookies?
How we use them
How to accept or decline cookies
Cookies are small files placed on your computer's hard drive that help websites to analyse web traffic or recognise your computer when you visit a particular page or site.
They can allow web applications to tailor content to suit your needs by remembering your likes, dislikes and preferences - such as the way sites like Amazon and eBay suggest items that you might be interested in based on what you have looked at previously.
Cookies can also be used to track the number of visitors to a website, the time they spent on the site and the pages they looked at.
We use several different cookies on our website:
Many of the cookies on our site are 'session cookies'. Session cookies allow the site to remember you as you move between pages, such as when searching for information or completing online forms etc. Session cookies are temporary and will be deleted when you leave the site or close your browser.
Other cookies, known as 'persistent cookies' are saved on your computer for a set period of time. Persistent cookies are used for a range of reasons, such as helping us to see how people are using our website, which pages are being viewed and how often. Other persistent cookies may be used by websites to suggest content that you might like, such as adverts or YouTube videos.
Anonymous Visitor Statistics Cookies
Some of the persistent cookies on our website come from Google Analytics. These cookies collect information about the pages that people tend to visit, the type of browser they use etc. The information gathered by Google Analytics helps us to improve our site, understand our audience and tailor our site to meet our customers' needs.
We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes, we cannot recognise you from the records we hold and cannot access your computer or any information about you. You can find out more about the tool we use for this and how it works on the Google Analytics website.
Social Website Cookies
So you can easily 'like' or share our content on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, we have included sharing buttons on our site.
Cookies are set by AddThis which is a service that provides us with lots of sharing buttons all in one neat package.
Their cookies collect anonymous data about the websites you visit so they can personalise the adverts to you, ensure that you don't see the same adverts too frequently and ultimately report to advertisers on which adverts are working.
Cookies are widely used in online advertising. Neither us, advertisers or our advertising partners can gain personally identifiable information from these cookies.
You can learn more about online advertising at www.youronlinechoices.com. You can opt-out of almost all online advertising cookies although ultimately adverts help keep much of the internet free.
It is also worth noting that opting out of advertising cookies will not mean you won't see adverts, just simply that they won't be tailored to you any longer.
Turning off cookies
If you are concerned about cookies from this or any other website you may want to adjust the privacy settings in your internet browser. By doing this you can withdraw your consent for websites to upload cookies to your computer.
Accept or decline cookies
Most internet browsers automatically accept (or 'consent' to) cookies, but you can usually switch cookies off by adjusting your browser settings to stop it from accepting cookies (Learn how here). This may reduce your browsing experience and stop some of the functionality on our website working, but it gives you greater control over the cookies that are placed on your computer.
It may be that you concerns around cookies relate to so called "spyware". Rather than switching off cookies in your browser you may find that anti-spyware software achieves the same objective by automatically deleting cookies considered to be invasive. Learn more about managing cookies with anti-spyware software.
You can find out more about the different types of cookies and what they do at BBC Webwise or go to www.allaboutcookies.org.