What are cookies?

A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a piece of data stored by a website within a browser, and then subsequently sent back to the same website by the browser.

Why do we use them?

Cookies fulfil different roles. Some are required for site functionality, some allow us to analyse how our site is used and some are from third parties (i.e. Google).
Cookies make browsing websites more efficient, give the opportunity for advanced functionality and also allow our website team to analyse how the site is used (through Google Analytics for example).
A great example of a cookie at work is if you’ve ever visited an eCommerce site and put a product in your basket without completing the purchase. You may have returned a few days later to see the same item in your basket; it is the cookie on your computer that identifies to the website you have returned and re-populates your basket.

Why do you collect data on how visitors use your site?

Firstly, it’s important to point out we don’t collect any data that can identify a unique user or contact data on that person (unless of course you volunteer such information via the contact form for example).We use Google Analytics to track how anonymous users make use of our site. The data we receive allows us to ensure our site remains easy to use, fully functional and gives users, such as yourself, the best possible experience.

Why do we need to outline them in this document?

The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) and UK Government have begun to enforce the E-Privacy Directive. The E-Privacy Directive is an EU based directive aimed at privacy protection in a digital environment.The directive is aimed at informing and educating web users on what cookies the websites they visit use and what they are for. The premise behind the directive is that users will have more control over their online privacy and gain a greater understanding of information collected (although we must point out that information collected on our site cannot be used to identify a single user).

What cookies do we use?

As noted earlier, our cookies fall into three categories.  Those that are required for functionality, those that allow us to collate and analysis site usage statistics and those that are used by third parties (such as Google).

Below is a list of the cookies we use. Some of them have already been used to ensure you are able to use our site and read this page for example. If you would like to clear our cookies, please visit this website for a guide on how to do so.


Owner Cookie Name Expiry More Information
Google Analytics  _utma  2 years This cookie is used by Google Analytics to recognise a unique user
Google Analytics  _utmb Less than one day This is a session cookie set by Google Analytics and helps us understand return/repeat visits
Google Analytics  _utmc End of session This is a session cookie set by Google Analytics and helps us understand return/repeat visits
Google Analytics  _utmz 6 months Sets referral path (how you found our site) for the visit

What if you don’t want to allow us to use cookies?

As noted earlier, you can clear the cookies on your browser by following instructions found here. You can also block cookies from our site, or any other site you visit, using your browser settings. Unfortunately, if you chose to take this approach you will no longer be able to view our website as a number of the cookies listed above are critical to the site’s usage.

Need more information?

If you’d like more information on cookies and the ICO’s directive, please visit the ICO site.

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