A cookie is a file containing an identifier (a string of letters and numbers) that is sent by a web server to a web browser and is stored by the browser. The identifier is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server.
Cookies can be used by web servers to identity and track users as they navigate different pages on a website and identify users returning to a website.
Cookies may be either persistent cookies or session cookies. A persistent cookie consists of a text file sent by a web server to a web browser, which will be stored by the browser and will remain valid until its set expiry date (unless deleted by the user before the expiry date). A session cookie, on the other hand, will expire at the end of the user session, when the web browser is closed.
Cookies may be first-party or third-party. A first-party cookie is only set, managed and only directly accessible by the website you're visiting, whereas a third-party cookie is set, managed and directly accessible.by a third-party.
We do not use any services which set third-party cookies and we do not set persistent cookies. We set a first-party session cookie for use with Google Analytics to analyse the use of this website. Google Analytics generates statistical and other information about website use by means of cookies, which are stored on users' computers. The information generated relating to our website is used to create reports about the use of the website. The information includes your IP address, but it is annoymised to ensure it is not personally identifiable. It is deleted after a retention period.
Most browsers allow you to refuse to accept cookies. For example:
- in Internet Explorer (version 9) you can block cookies using the cookie handling override settings available by clicking "Tools", "Internet Options", "Privacy" and then "Advanced";
- in Firefox (version 16) you can block all cookies by clicking "Tools", "Options", "Privacy", selecting "Use custom settings for history" from the drop-down menu, and unticking "Accept cookies from sites"; and
- in Chrome (version 23), you can block all cookies by accessing the "Customise and control" menu, and clicking "Settings", "Show advanced settings" and "Content settings", and then selecting "Block sites from setting any data" under the "Cookies" heading.
Blocking all cookies will, however, have a negative impact upon the usability of many websites.
You can also delete cookies already stored on your computer. For example:
- in Internet Explorer (version 9), you must manually delete cookie files (you can find instructions for doing so at https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/278835);
- in Firefox (version 16), you can delete cookies by clicking "Tools", "Options", "Privacy" and then "Show Cookies", and then clicking "Remove All Cookies"; and
- in Chrome (version 23), you can delete all cookies by accessing the "Customise and control" menu, and clicking "Settings", "Show advanced settings" and "Clear browsing data", and then selecting "Delete cookies and other site and plug-in data" before clicking "Clear browsing data".
Again, doing this may have a negative impact on the usability of many websites.