Cookies do lots of different jobs, like letting you navigate between pages efficiently, storing your preferences, and generally improving your experience of a website. Cookies make the interaction between you and the website faster and easier. Cookies also allow us to count unique visitors, and see how they use the website, e.g. to help us improve how easily users can find what they are looking for.
What is in a cookie?
A cookie is a simple text file that is stored on your computer or mobile device by a website’s server and only that server will be able to retrieve or read the contents of that cookie. Each cookie is unique to your web browser. It will contain some anonymous information such as a unique identifier and the site name and some digits and numbers. It allows a website to remember things like your preferences or what’s in your shopping basket.
Cookies may also store your IP address or other information about your device.
What to do if you don’t want cookies to be set
Some people find the idea of a website storing information on their computer or mobile device a bit intrusive, particularly when this information is stored and used by a third party without them knowing. Although this is generally quite harmless you may not, for example, want to see advertising that has been targeted to your interests. If you prefer, it is possible to block some or all cookies, or even to delete cookies that have already been set; but you need to be aware that you might lose some functions of that website.
How can I control cookies?
If you wish to restrict or block web browser cookies which are set on your device then you can do this through your browser settings; the Help function within your browser should tell you how. Alternatively, you may wish to visit www.aboutcookies.org, which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers.
For information about controlling cookies on the browser of a mobile device please refer to your device manual.
Cookies in emails
- Web beacons: tiny, invisible images placed in emails to tell us whether you open them (and if so how often), how you interact with them (for example the time you spend reading the email), which email software and web browser you used, which device you used and your IP address. We also use web beacons to help us display emails in the best format for your device.
- Link tracking: our emails contain several hyperlinks, each with a unique tag. When you click on a link the mailing company logs the click so that we can understand who has clicked through from an email to our website. We use this information to tailor future messages to you.
How to control email cookies
If you don’t want to accept cookies from our emails, just close the email before clicking on any links or downloading any images. You can also alter your browser settings to restrict or reject cookies. These settings will apply to all cookies on websites and emails.
Depending on your email or browser settings, cookies in an email may be automatically accepted, eg if you’ve added an email address to your address book or safe senders list. Check your email browser or device instructions for more information.
Third party cookies
We sometimes embed photos and video content from websites such as flickr and YouTube and pages with this embedded content may present cookies from these websites. Similarly, when you use one of the share buttons on our website, a cookie may be set by the service you have chosen to share content through.
You can usually disable third party cookies by going to that third party’s website and opting out. Note that if you opt out of third party advertising cookies, you will still see advertising when using the website, however that advertising will not be tailored to you.