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Privacy & Cookies

Our privacy notice and the way in which cookies are used on this website


[Last updated: 09 January 2020 - Changes made following a change in status of CEH from a NERC Research Centre to an independent body (see UKCEH governance). The changes made to this privacy notice are: (1) CEH changed to UKCEH; Centre for Ecology & Hydrology changed to UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology; (2) References to NERC and UKRI removed; (3) Lawful basis of 'Public task' replaced by 'Legitimate interest'; (4) Sections numbered.]

1. Introduction

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a Europe-wide law that replaces the Data Protection Act 1998 in the UK. It is part of the wider package of reform to data protection that includes the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018. The GDPR and DPA 2018 set out requirements for how organisations will need to process personal data from 25 May 2018.

The Environmental Change Network (ECN) is coordinated by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH). UKCEH manages this website, the ECN Data Centre website, the ECN database and the ECN e-news service. This privacy notice tells you what to expect when UKCEH collects your personal information in the course of managing ECN.

This privacy notice will be revised as required; you are encouraged to revisit the privacy notice regularly to read the latest version.

Please read the following carefully to understand our views and practices regarding your personal data and how we will process it. By visiting and affiliated websites you are accepting and consenting to the practices described in this policy.

2. The name and contact details of UKCEH

UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Maclean Building, Benson Lane
Crowmarsh Gifford
OX10 8BB

T: +44 (0)1491 838800

F: +44 (0)1491 692424

UKCEH is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee with charitable status. UKCEH serves as a strategic delivery partner for the Natural Environment Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation.. For more information visit

3. The name and contact details of our data protection representative

The UKCEH Data Protection Officer is Quentin Tucker.

4. Personal Data

This section of the privacy notice provides information on: the purpose of the data processing; the lawful basis for the processing; further information where the lawful basis is legitimate interests for the processing; the categories of personal data obtained (if the personal data is not obtained from the individual it relates to).

We may use the following lawful grounds for processing personal information to support our work when we carry out processing in pursuit of our purposes laid out in Article 93 of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017:

Legitimate interests: the reason for the processing is clearly defined, is necessary, is reasonable and has minimal privacy impact

Consent: cases in which you provide us with personal information in order to receive a service such as downloading data or subscribing to our news mailing list

Contract: where it is necessary for the performance of an agreement, contract or licence to which you are a party or for processes related to entering into an agreement, contract or licence

Legal obligation: if the law requires us to, we may need to collect and process your data.

5. The personal data we may collect from you

When you communicate with ECN, visit our websites or use our services, we may collect and process your personal information, as described in this section.

5.1 When you visit our websites

Our website is Affiliated to this is our Data Centre website,, which carries a link to this privacy notice, along with any additional privacy information that is applicable.

When you use our websites we may collect the following information about you:

  • the IP address used to connect your computer to the Internet
  • your time zone setting
  • your Internet provider
  • the full Uniform Resource Locators (URLs, i.e. web page addresses) of pages you visit
  • files you download
  • page response times
  • length of visits to pages
  • page interaction information (such as clicks, downloads, web form submissions).

This information is logged in the ECN database and by Google Analytics, a service we use solely to help us understand visits made to our websites and to help us improve our websites. We will use this information to provide the best possible service to our web users. It allows us to administer our site, including our efforts to keep it safe and secure, and to carry out internal operations including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, and statistical research. This means we can improve our websites to ensure that content is presented in the most effective manner for you. Further information about Google Analytics is provided below in the ‘Cookies’ section. The lawful basis by which this information is collected is legitimate interest.

Where you are asked to complete a form on our website in order to obtain a service or product or to create a user account, you may be asked for details including your name, address, email address, telephone number, and organisation. The details you provide will be held by UKCEH for the purpose(s) described at the point of collection. The lawful basis by which this information is collected is consent.

Cookies: Our website uses to distinguish you from other users of our website. This helps us to provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and also allows us to improve our site. For detailed information on the cookies we use and the purposes for which we use them, see Cookies.

Links: Our site contains links to other websites.  If you follow a link to any of these websites, please note that these websites and any services that may be accessible through them have their own privacy notices and that we do not accept any responsibility or liability for these policies or for any personal data that may be collected through these websites or services. Please check these policies before you submit any personal data to these websites or use these services.


5.2 When you subscribe to our e-news service

Our e-news service is provided as a way to inform people by email about ECN and related activities. In order to provide this service to you, the minimum information we collect is your email. Detailed privacy information is provided on the sign-up form. The lawful basis by which this information is collected is consent.

You will be advised as to how you can withdraw your consent when subscribing and when you receive a bulk email via the mailing list.

Our mailing list provider is Mailchimp. There is more information about Mailchimp in the section concerning transfers to international organisations.


5.3 When you contact us

When you contact us by email, phone or in writing, we may need to store the personal information you provide, such as your name, email address, postal address and phone number. This enables us to contact you, for example, to help answer an enquiry. For example, when you send us an email, this will be stored on our email server. Such contact information will only be disclosed to others (e.g. by forwarding your email) where that is necessary to help you with your request. The lawful basis by which this information is collected is consent.


5.4 When you request data from the Data Centre website

Up until 2016, we asked users to complete a form to request data. This included the provision of their name, address, email and phone number(s). This was stored in the ECN database to administer their request and monitor the use of ECN data. After 2016, data provision was via published datasets that are available on the CEH Environmental Information Platform. Please refer to the EIP privacy notice.


5.5 When we provide you with a website user account

A limited number of individuals may be given access to the website in order to add and maintain content. In these circumstances, it will be necessary to store your name and email address in the website's user management database, in order to provide you with a user account. The lawful basis by which this information is collected and used is legitimate interest.

The following purpose only applies to ECN site managers and other key individuals involved in the operation of ECN:

5.6 When your details are added to the ECN site managers' mailing list

When we add you to this mailing list, which uses the Mailman system, we will store only your name and email address, for the purposes of providing an efficient system for site managers and the ECN Central Coordination Unit to contact each other. You can unsubscribe from the list or change your subscription details at any time. The lawful basis by which this information is collected and used is legitimate interest.

6. The details of transfers of personal data to third parties or organisations outside the UK and EEA

We will inform you of circumstances in which we may need to share your data with third parties, i.e. beyond UKCEH.

Unless otherwise indicated, your information is processed in the UK and European Economic Area (EEA).

In those instances where your information is being processed outside of the UK or EEA, we work with our partners to do all we can to ensure your personal data is processed in line with the data protection requirements of GDPR.

The ECN website and the ECN Data Centre website are hosted by UKCEH in the UK.

Mailchimp (based in the USA) is currently the data processor for our e-news mailing list. Mailchimp is certified by the EU-US Privacy Shield. You can view Mailchimp’s privacy information at their website.

7. The retention periods for the personal data

Personal data retention is guided by the UKRI retention schedule. Science Research project records may be kept for 10 to 20 years after the project is completed or in exceptional circumstances will be retained permanently. Data that we collected up until 2016 for the purposes of administering and monitoring data requests will be kept indefinitely.

8. The rights available to individuals in respect of the processing

The GDPR provides the following rights for individuals:

  • The right to be informed
  • The right of access
  • The right to rectification
  • The right to erasure
  • The right to restrict processing
  • The right to data portability
  • The right to object
  • Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling.


For further details on the rights of ndividuals please visit the ICO guide to GDPR.

8.1 The right to withdraw consent (if applicable)

Where your personal data is processed using consent as the lawful basis, you have the right to withdraw consent at any time. You will be informed about the ways you can withdraw your consent.

8.2 The right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority

Initially, please raise your concern with the ECN team at UKCEH via email ( or telephone (+44 (0)1524 595800 and ask for the Environmental Change Network). Any continuing concerns you may have can be raised with the UKCEH Data Protection Officer, Quentin Tucker.

If UKCEH has not resolved your information rights concern you can raise the matter with the Information Commissioner’s Office via live chat or by phoning 0303 123 1113.

9. Provision of Privacy Information

We provide privacy information in a variety of ways, including:

  • Providing individuals with privacy information at the time we collect personal data from them.
  • If we obtain personal data from a source other than the individual it relates to, we provide them with privacy information:
    • within a reasonable period of obtaining the personal data and no later than one month;
    • If we plan to communicate with the individual, we will provide privacy information at the latest when the first communication takes place; or
    • If we plan to disclose the data to someone else, we will provide privacy information at the latest when the data is disclosed.

10. How we provide privacy Information

When providing our privacy information to individuals, we use a combination of appropriate techniques. We aim to provide privacy information in a way that is: 

  • concise
  • transparent
  • intelligible
  • easily accessible; and
  • uses clear and plain language.

11. Changes to privacy information

We regularly review and, where necessary, update our privacy information. If we plan to use personal data for a new purpose, we will update our privacy information and communicate the changes to individuals before starting any new processing.

12. Register of processing activities

  • UKCEH undertakes an information audit to find out what personal data we hold and what we do with it
  • UKCEH puts ourselves in the position of the people we’re collecting information about
  • UKCEH will carry out user testing to evaluate how effective our privacy information is.


[Last updated: 09 January 2020 - Changes made: (1) Sections numbered]

13. Introduction

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, for example, 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; recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don't need to do it for every web page requested; 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.

You can manage these small files yourself (via your web browser settings) and learn more about them through advice on (external link).

14. Our use of cookies

Here we describe – to the best of our knowledge – cookies which may be set on your computer when you visit this site or use any third-party plugins. Note that if you click a link or button which takes you to another site, cookies may be set by that website. These cookies are not described here.

14.1 Cookies for improving service

This site uses the Google Analytics service. Google Analytics sets cookies to help us accurately estimate the number of visitors to the website and volumes of usage. This allows us to ensure that the service is fast and available when you want it.

Name: __utmt
Purpose: Used to throttle the request rate
Expires: 10 minutes

Name: __utma
Purpose: Used to distinguish users and sessions
Typical content: randomly generated number
Expires: 2 years from set/update

Name: __utmb
Purpose: Used to determine new sessions/visits 
Typical content: randomly generated number
Expires: 30 minutes

Name: __utmc
Purpose: Only used in some instances of Google Analytics. Historically this cookie operated in conjunction with the __utmb cookie to determine whether a user was in a new session/visit
Typical content: randomly generated number
Expires: when user exits browser

Name: __utmz
Purpose: Stores the traffic source or campaign that explains how the user reached the site.
Typical content: randomly generated number and info on how the site was reached (e.g. directly or via a link, organic search or paid search)
Expires: 6 months

For further details on the cookies set by Google Analytics, please refer to the Google Code website.

14.1.1 Further information concerning Google Analytics

Google provide information about the use of their technologies such as Google Analytics. Please see the Google Privacy & Terms.

Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on

To provide website visitors the ability to prevent their data from being used by Google Analytics, Google have developed the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on for the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js, analytics.js, dc.js). The add-on is available for major web browsers including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera.


14.2 Cookies for delivering certain types of content

This site uses Adobe Flash Player to present speakers' slides that were given at the 'Beyond 2010' conference. Adobe Flash Player may store local shared objects (LSOs), also known as 'Flash cookies' on a user's computer. Adobe's website provides more information about LSOs and how to manage and delete them.

The ECN Data Centre uses cookies to temporarily store information on your computer to enable session state between Active Server Pages.  Session state is a way of remembering you between web pages and we use it, for example, to ensure that you only have to log in once when viewing protected areas of the website.  We do not collect any information about you except that required for system administration of the web server.  These cookies automatically expire when you exit your browser.  When we set a temporary session cookie, this will be indicated on the web page.

14.3 Third party cookies

When we provide links to third party services we think you will find useful, they may place a cookie on your device to make their service easier to use. There are currently no third party services on this website, but when we use a third party service will will list it below, with links to their privacy policy where available.

14.4 Cookies used when you log in to the website

Some users have accounts and can log in to this website. When a user logs on with a username and password, this site – which uses the Plone Content Management System – uses a cookie so the user does not have to log in each time he or she visits a new page. To our knowledge, the following cookies are related to Plone’s user login function:

Name: _ac
Typical content: random number
Expires: when user exits browser

Name: _ZopeId
Typical content: random number
Expires: when user exits browser

Name: areYourCookiesEnabled
Typical content: a number (e.g. 1) – presumably a status flag signalling whether or not the user’s browser is accepting cookies
Expires: when user exits browser

Filed under:

Summary of useful terms

You may encounter some of these terms if you read more about cookies.

Browser: Used to locate and display web pages via a software application.

Cookie: Message given to a web browser by a web server. The message is then stored by the browser at a location on the user's hard disc. Each time the browser requests a page from the server, this message is sent back.

Cookies are often used to identify users and personalise their visit by customising web pages for them for example by welcoming them by name next time they visit the same site. A site using cookies will usually invite you to provide personal information such as your name, e-mail address and interests.

IP (Internet Protocol): All networks connected to the internet speak IP, the technical standard which allows data to be transmitted between two devices. TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) is responsible for making sure messages get from one host to another and that the messages are understood.

IP address: If you are connected to the Internet you have one, for example it may look something like this:

Web Server: Delivers (serves up) web pages to your computer.

Active Server Pages: Dynamic (interactive) web pages which include web feedback forms, login pages and pages which connect to a database.

Session State: A way of remembering you between active server pages.