Our Cookie Policy

Summary

A cookie is a piece of information sent via your internet browser and stored on your local hard drive. It usually contains information which enables the sending web site to easily identify you on subsequent visits. For more information on cookies, take a look at www.allaboutcookies.org External link image. At present this site uses cookies only for three purposes:

Temporary (session) cookies are set if you use our feedback or enquiry forms. They are used to pass information from the form through its server-side validation and processing function and are deleted once you leave our website.

We also use cookies for gathering general statistical information about visitors to our site: for this purpose we use code provided by Piwik. Although this cookie may 'persist' on your computer, it contains only general information (not personal information) and is used only for statistics purposes.

On 26th May 2011 the latest iteration of the EU's e-privacy directive became become part of UK law. From this date, organisations using cookies are required to seek consent from users prior to putting cookies on the device from which the user is accessing the website. Note: The actual compliance date has beeen deferred for one year until the 25th May 2012.

From 25th May 2012, we will therefore ask all our users for their consent to store cookies on the device they use to browse our site. In addition to the cookies placed by Piwik, we will set a cookie to mark your acceptance of our cookie policy - this will allow us to recognise your browser on subsequent visits, regardless of which of our web pages you view and will be deleted after a year to enable you to reconsider whether or not to give your consent again at that time. To reject the Piwik cookie (or our own acceptance cookie, after it has been set), go to the link below to read how to remove cookies from your browser. Google has a browser add-on for IE, Firefox and Chrome users.

To manually remove cookies from your browsing device please follow the directions on this site www.aboutcookies.org External link image for the browser you are using.

Please be aware that if you choose not to accept cookies from our site (or delete them once set), you will be asked for permission to set cookies next time you visit our site. Unfortunately, this is unavoidable as we use a cookie to record your acceptance of cookies (ironic chuckle).

We still aren't sure exactly who is being ‘protected’ by this new requirement: after all, most (if not all) modern browsers can be easily set to control cookie acceptance or rejection (click the link above to see how to do this with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Opera) and currently the only realistic way of remembering a user's acceptance of cookies from a particular site is, strangely enough, by using a cookie!

A fuller explanation of Cookies is given below.

What Are Cookies?

A cookie is a small data file that certain web sites write to your hard drive when you visit them. A cookie is a simple piece of text. It is not a program or a plug-in. It cannot be used as a virus, and it cannot access your hard drive or read cookie files created by other sites. A cookie file can contain information such as a user ID that a web site uses to track the pages you visit, but the only personal information a cookie can contain is information which you supply yourself.

Visitors to any web site (other than this one, of course) should be aware that two general levels of information about their visit can be retained. The first level comprises statistical information - about all visitors - collected on an aggregate basis, and the second is information about a specific visitor who knowingly chooses to provide that information.

The statistical information provides the web site manager with general (not individually specific) information about the number of people who visit his or her web site, the number of people who return to the site, the pages that they visit, where they were before they came to the current web page, and the last page they saw before they exited. The web site manager may also collect certain information such as the type of browser being used (e.g.Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Opera, Chrome, etc ), the type of operating system being used, (e.g., Windows 8, Win 7, Windows XP, Linux variants or the Mac OS) and the domain name of your internet service provider (e.g. BT, Talk Talk, 3Mobile, etc, ).

This information helps the web site manager monitor traffic on this web site in order to analyze site usage and manage the site's content and capacity. It also shows which parts of the site are most popular, and generally to assess user behavior and characteristics in order to measure interest in and use of the various areas of the site. This helps facilitate improvements in the design and content of the web site and enables the manager to personalise your internet experience.

What is the Purpose of Cookies?

Cookies make the interaction between users and web sites faster and easier. Without cookies, it would be very difficult for a web site to allow a visitor to fill up a shopping cart or to remember the user's preferences or registration details for a future visit.

Web sites use cookies mainly because they save time and make the browsing experience more efficient and enjoyable. Web sites often use cookies for the purposes of collecting demographic information about their users.

Cookies enable web sites to monitor their users' web surfing habits and profile them for marketing purposes (for example, to find out which products or services they are interested in and send them targeted advertisements).

Are There Different Types of Cookies?

Yes, cookies come in different flavours:

Session, or Transient Cookies

Cookies that are stored in the computer's memory only during a user's browsing session and are automatically deleted from the user's computer when the browser is closed.

These cookies usually store a session ID that is not personally identifiable to users, allowing the user to move from page to page without having to log-in repeatedly. They are widely used by commercial web sites (for example, to keep track of items that a consumer has added to a shopping cart).

Session cookies are never written on the hard drive and they do not collect any information from the user's computer. Session cookies expire at the end of the user's browser session and can also become no longer accessible after the session has been inactive for a specified length of time, usually 20 minutes.

Permanent, Persistent, or Stored Cookies

Cookies that are stored on the user's computer and are not deleted when the browser is closed. Permanent cookies can retain user preferences for a particular web site, allowing those preferences to be used in future browsing sessions.

Permanent cookies can be used to identify individual users, so they may be used by web sites to analyse users' surfing behaviour within the web site. These cookies can also be used to provide information about numbers of visitors, the average time spent on a particular page and generally the performance of the web site. They are usually configured to keep track of users for a prolonged period of time, in some cases many years into the future.

Flash Cookies

If you have Adobe Flash installed on your computer (most computers do), small files may be stored on your computer by websites that contain Flash media, such as video clips. These files are known as Local Shared Objects (LSOs) or Flash cookies. They can be used for the same purposes as regular cookies (properly called HTTP cookies).

Flash cookies can also back up the data that is stored in a regular cookie. When you delete cookies using your browser controls, your Flash cookies are not affected. So a website that served a cookie to you may recognise you on your next visit if it backed up its now-deleted cookie data to a Flash cookie.

You can control Flash cookies. Adobe's website offers tools to control Flash cookies on your computer and users of the Firefox browser can also get an add-on to detect and delete Flash cookies.

Are Cookies Dangerous?

No. Cookies are small pieces of text. They are not computer programs, and they can't be executed as code. Also, they cannot be used to disseminate viruses, and modern versions of both Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome browsers allow users to set their own limitations to the number of cookies saved on their hard drives.

Can Cookies Threaten Users' Privacy?

Cookies are stored on the computer's hard drive. They cannot access the hard drive - so a cookie can't read other information saved on the hard drive, or get a user's e-mail address etc. They only contain and transfer to the server as much information as the users themselves have disclosed to a certain web site.

A server cannot set a cookie for a domain that it is not a member of. In spite of this, users quite often find in their computer files cookies from web sites that they have never visited. These cookies are usually set by companies that sell internet advertising on behalf of other web sites. Therefore it may be possible that users' information is passed to third party web sites without the users' knowledge or consent, such as information on surfing habits. This is the most common reason for people rejecting or fearing cookies.

On 26th May 2011, new laws came into force in the United Kingdom (UK) that affect most web sites. If cookies are used in a site, the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (UK Regulations) provide that certain information must be given to that site's visitors and the user must give his or her consent to the placing of the cookies.

The UK Regulations implemented into UK law the provisions of the amended E-Privacy Directive of 2009. The Directive required that the new laws be implemented into the laws of all EU Member States by 25th May 2011. The UK is only one of three member states to meet this deadline.

Below you will find details on the UK Regulations and some additional information on the E-Privacy Directive itself. Because each Member State has some discretion in how it implements a Directive, the cookie laws in other European countries may differ from those of the UK.

UK Regulations

The actual wording of the Regulations

The relevant rules are found in amended regulation 6, which reads as follows:

6. - (1) Subject to paragraph (4), a person shall not store or gain information, or to gain access to information stored, in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user unless the requirements of paragraph (2) are met.

(2) The requirements are that the subscriber or user of that terminal equipment -

(a) is provided with clear and comprehensive information about the purposes of the storage of, or access to, that information; and
(b) has given his or her consent.

(3) Where an electronic communications network is used by the same person to store or access information in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user on more than one occasion, it is sufficient for the purposes of this regulation that the requirements of paragraph (2) are met in respect of the initial use.

(3A) For the purposes of paragraph (2), consent may be signified by a subscriber who amends or sets controls on the internet browser which the subscriber uses or by using another application or programme to signify consent.

(4) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to the technical storage of, or access to, information -

(a) for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network; or

(b) where such storage or access is strictly necessary for the provision of an information society service requested by the subscriber or user.

So What Does All This Mean?

We are obliged by law to tell you what type of cookies we use and to give you the option of not allowing us to use them when you are browsing our website.

The Cookies We Use

We use a temporary session cookie when you use the enquiry or contact us forms on our website.

We use a 1st party cookie to collect statistical informatiom (Piwik). This is only used on our server and is not shared with any other party.

This page was last edited on: 4th March, 2015 06:16:16

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