THE latest teenage pregnancy rates for Blackburn with Darwen have been revealed.

Rates continue to fall, with the number having drastically reduced over the past 10 years.

Latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics show, in 2017, there were 52 in the borough with half of them leading to the mother having an abortion.

But in 2007, there had been 143 teenage pregnancies in Blackburn with Darwen – 45.7 per 1,000 teenage girls in the borough.

Blackburn with Darwen reflects a national trend which has seen a reduction in the number of teenage pregnancies across the UK.

Conception rates among under 18s in Blackburn with Darwen are now the lowest since 1998, when the National Teenage Pregnancy Strategy launched.

The success has been credited to the joined-up approach by the council and its children’s services, the NHS and its quality sexual health/contraception services provision and young people themselves.

Two decades ago pregnancy rates in Blackburn and Darwen were 58.2 per 1000 girls aged 15 to 17.

Now the figure stands at 17.6 per 1,000.

In Burnley, there were 40 teen pregnancies in 2017 (29.6 per 1,000), and 43 in Hyndburn (32.8 per 1,000).

Pendle had 30 registered teen pregnancies (18.3 per 1,000), while Rossendale had 34 (28.8 per 1,000).

Ribble Valley had the lowest number and rate in East Lancashire at 15 teen pregnancies (13.7 per 1,000).

Cllr Brian Taylor, Blackburn with Darwen’s executive member for health and adult social care, said: “The fall in teenage pregnancies is welcome but we cannot be complacent. A key factor has been the planned and targeted long-term approach to the prevention of unwanted pregnancy delivered by the council, the local NHS, schools and other partners.

“There has been an increase in the availability of good and appropriate contraceptive advice and sexual health services in the borough. We have also had good data from local children’s and public health services on who is most at risk of unwanted pregnancy and what can be done to support them to make healthier choices.

“The good services provided by health visitors and school nurses have played a part, along with targeted campaigns and awareness programmes.”

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “These latest figures reflect the hard work of councils and their partners in helping to improve the health, wellbeing and life chances of young people.

“We must sustain this downward trend, accelerate improvements in areas with high rates and narrow the inequalities we see between them, which will not only make a difference to individual lives, but reduce the long-term demand on health and social care services.

“Evidence shows that high quality relationships and sex education, alongside welcoming and accessible sexual health services and friendly non-judgmental staff, help young people to delay sex until they are ready and to use contraception effectively.”