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.
Cookies 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, these are shown in the table lower down the page along with details of what they are for.
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.
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 and tailor it to 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.
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.
Most internet browsers automatically accept (or 'consent' to) cookies, but you can usually change your browser settings to decline cookies if you prefer. This may reduce your browsing experience but it gives you greater control over the cookies that are placed on your computer. You can add the web domain shown in the table to your list of websites that you do not wish to receive cookies from.
Here are some links to point you towards advice for the most popular internet browsers:
Internet Explorer: IE6, IE7 and IE8, IE9
Mobile Safari - for iPhones etc
You can find out more about the different types of cookies and what they do at BBC Webwise or go to http://www.allaboutcookies.org/.