A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.
We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about web page traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system.
Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website, by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us. You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website.
Cookies are either:
- Session cookies: these are only stored on your computer during your web session and are automatically deleted when you close your browser – they usually store an anonymous session ID allowing you to browse a website without having to log in to each page but they do not collect any personal data from your computer; or
- Persistent cookies: a persistent cookie is stored as a file on your computer and it remains there when you close your web browser. The cookie can be read by the website that created it when you visit that website again. We use persistent cookies for Google Analytics.
Cookies can also be categorised as follows:
- Strictly necessary cookies: These cookies are essential to enable you to use the website effectively, such as when buying a product and / or service, and therefore cannot be turned off. Without these cookies, the services available to you on our website cannot be provided. These cookies do not gather information about you that could be used for marketing or remembering where you have been on the internet.
- Performance cookies: These cookies enable us to monitor and improve the performance of our website. For example, they allow us to count visits, identify traffic sources and see which parts of the site are most popular.
- Functionality cookies: These cookies allow our website to remember choices you make and provide enhanced features. For instance, we may be able to provide you with news or updates relevant to the services you use.
They may also be used to provide services you have requested such as viewing a video or commenting on a blog. The information these cookies collect is usually anonymised.