NEW figures show that the number of girls under 18 getting pregnant in Bolton has fallen by almost a quarter.

There were 163 conceptions for under-18s in 2012, the most recent year the figures are available for, down from 213 the year before, a drop of 23.5 per cent.

The number of conceptions per 1,000 among under-18s also fell, from 39.7 in 2011 to 30.4 a year later.

Health chiefs in Bolton are pleased as the figures confirm a total drop of almost 40 per cent in the rate per 1,000 since 1998.

Across Greater Manchester, there were 220 fewer teen conceptions in 2012 than the year before — a 11.9 per cent drop. Bolton had the third lowest rate of under-18 pregnancy in Greater Manchester, and ranked only marginally higher than the English national average of 27.7.

Bolton Council’s public health team said the figures were the result of hard work.

A spokesman said: “These results have been achieved through a combination of quality sexual health and relationships education in schools, the provision of contraception services for young people, targeted work with those at most risk and raising young people’s aspirations and achievements.

“The reduction of teenage pregnancies remains a priority and we will continue to strive to reduce the rate even further.”

Manchester recorded the worst figures in Greater Manchester in 2012, with 45.1 conceptions per 1,000 girls, while Trafford fared best, with a rate of only 20.2.

Dr Barry Silvert, clinical director for integrated commissioning at NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “This reduction is really good news as we know teenage pregnancy has an impact on the health of both mother and baby.

“The council has been doing excellent work in this area for some years now and we are really seeing it pay off.”