What are they?

A cookie is a small data file that a website can cause to be stored on your computer as a result of you visiting that website. It just holds data and cannot be executed in any way; it thus cannot be used to retreive any other information from your computer. Only the website that created the cookie will be able to read its contents, to retrieve the data it has previously stored in it, either as you move between pages of that site during a particular visit, or when you visit the site again in the future. As well as deciding what data to store in a cookie, the website can also set it to expire either at the end of your browsing session (i.e. when you close your browser the cookie should also be destroyed), or at some future time. Once a cookie has expired, your browser should destroy it (although it depends on your browser's settings whether it actually does so).

Cookies set by the website you are visiting are known as "first party" cookies. It is also possible for other websites to set cookies during your visit to the first site, for example as a result if that site displaying an advert or other information from another site embedded within its pages. These are known as "third party" cookies.

How We Use Cookies

We use a cookie to store a simple identification number that allows us to recognise you as a unique visitor during your visit to our site. We use this to keep track of which pages of our site you visit, so that we can analyse such information from all of our visitors to allow us to improve our site and make it easier to use. This cookie is set to expire at the end of your browsing session; that is, your browser should delete the cookie form your system when you close your browser window.

Under UK law, resulting from an EU directive, we are required to obtain your permission before storing cookies on your computer. This is the reason for the question displayed towards the top right of each of our pages. We also use a cookie to suppress the display of this message once you have visited this page. If you would like us to also inhibit the display of this message on future visits too, then please click here. This will result in the cookie being set to expire after a year instead of at the end of your current session.

How Our Advertisers Use Cookies

Our advertisers may also use cookies, for example to recognise us as the site that first referred you to their site, so that they can reward us for carrying their adverts. In particular, Google uses the Double Click DART cookie to allow it to tailor the ads displayed on this site according to the types of sites you have visited in the past (those that also display ads provided by Google), so that they may be of more relevance to your interests. The information compiled in this way does not contain any data that can identify you personally. Google also allows other approved advertising networks to display ads through its system, and these may also use similar cookies. Although we have opted-out of this ad tailoring system, so that the ads displayed depend only only the content of this site, it is still possible that our advertisers will make use of cookies.

How To Control Cookies

You can control whether we, our advertisers, or other websites you visit can store cookies on your computer by using the options provided by your internet browser program. These will typically be found under a menu or toolbar button such as "Options", "Preferences", "Security", "Privacy" etc. Depending on which browser program you are using, you should be able to control whether cookies are allowed or blocked for all websites you visit or only for specific sites, and to distinguish between first and third party cookies. For further information, see the help provided by your browser program.

To control our use of cookies, you will need to allow or block "first party" cookies.

To control our advertiser's cookies, you will need to allow or block "third party" cookies

Alternatively you can visit Google's site to opt-out of its tracking system, or visit the Network Advertising Initiative website to opt-out of the systems used by many advertising networks, including Google. These opt-out systems actually use cookies to signal the fact that you have opted-out of each system, so your browser will need to be set to allow such cookies, and if you delete cookies from your system in the future you will have to opt-out again.

Note that if you use different browsers, computers or other devices to browse the Internet, you will need to change the settings of each browser or device individually, and/or opt-out of the advertising cookies from within each browser or device.