But at the current rate of decline, the DoH may struggle to meet its target, set in 1998. This was to halve the number of pregnancies in under-18s from 46.6 conceptions per 1,000 girls, to 23.3 per 1,000 girls.
The latest ONS figures for 2006 show that the teenage pregnancy rate stands at 40.4 pregnancies per 1,000 girls, 13 per cent less than in 1998.
Ms Gill Frances, chairwoman of the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group, said: 'It is excellent that the teenage pregnancy rate has dropped again, establishing a firmly downward trend.
'These trends are for 2006 and since then the government has refreshed its strategy and local areas have redoubled their efforts, so we envisage progress will be even greater in the future.'
The ONS also revealed that the conception rate for the over-40s in England and Wales has reached a record high at 12.2 pregnancies per 1,000 women. This represents a 6 per cent increase from 2005.
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