What are cookies?
When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device (e.g. computer or mobile phone). These include small files known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.
These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:
- Enabling a service to recognise your device so you don’t have to give the same information several times during one task
- Measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there’s enough capacity to ensure they are fast
- Analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with our site so we can make it better
Can I opt out of cookies?
If you aren’t, you can set your web browser (eg.. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer etc) to reject all cookies; allow only ‘trusted’ sites to set them; or to accept cookies from websites only for the duration of your visit. Your browser’s ‘help’ option will tell you how. However, please be aware that if you choose to delete or restrict cookies, some features of our website may not work.
You can also visit the AboutCookies website for more information about cookies and how to manage them.
We sometimes use external suppliers to deliver services on our behalf, which means these cookies may be set by a third party (third-party cookies). We do not control these cookies so if you would like more information about them or information on how to opt out, please see their individual privacy policies (listed below). You can also go to youronlinechoices.com; to find out more about third-party cookies.
Our cookies and what they do for you
Strictly necessary cookies
Without these essential cookies, our website won’t work properly. They help you move around secure areas of the website and carry out specific tasks, like journey planning or making a payment.
What they do:
- Remember information you’ve entered in a form or details about a payment you want to make. Without them, this would be lost every time you moved to a new page
These cookies collect anonymous information about how visitors use our website, for example, the most popular pages and any error pages you see. We use this aggregated information to improve our website. We don’t collect any information in cookies that identifies you as an individual.
What they do:
- Give us an overall picture of how people use our website by telling us things like the number of visitors to each page and what people do on a page
- Allow us to test out ideas to find out what’s working and what could be improved. We do this by seeing what people click on and how they move through the site
Functionality cookies record information about choices you’ve made and allow us to tailor the website to your needs. They may also take the form of Flash cookies, which are stored in your Adobe Flash Player rather than your browser, and control your preferences when watching online videos or listening to recordings. The Adobe website has comprehensive information on how to delete or disable Flash cookies.
What they do:
Remember any settings you’ve applied, such as layout, text size, preferences or colours
Enable us to share information with partners who provide a service on our site. This is only to provide the service, product or function, not for any other purpose
Sometimes, we embed maps, images or videos from websites such as YouTube and Flickr. As a result, when you visit a page featuring such content, you may be presented with cookies from these websites. We do not control these cookies and cannot prevent these sites or domains from collecting information on your use of this content.
You should check the relevant third-party website for more information about them and how to opt out. If you are not logged in to their services, they will not know who you are but may still gather anonymous usage information (eg number of views, plays, loads etc).
Social networking and sharing tools
On some pages, we also feature embedded ‘share’ buttons or widgets that enable you to share content with friends through a number of popular social networking sites (eg Google+1; Twitter; Facebook ‘Like’ etc).
These sites may set cookies which can identify you as an individual when you are also logged in to their services. This means they may be collecting information about what you are doing all around the internet. We do not control these cookies and you should check the relevant third-party website to see how your information is used and how to opt out.
Some of our pages may contain electronic images known as web beacons (or clear gifs), which allow us to count the number of visitors to these pages. Web beacons are usually only used to track the effectiveness of a particular link or campaign. Some of these web beacons may be placed by third-party suppliers.
You can visit the AllAboutCookies website to find out more about web beacons.