THE Assembly is being urged to push the government for abolishing or reducing tolls on both Severn bridges after 2016.

South Wales East AM Mike German also demanded an urgent study to look into the effects of Severn tolls on the Welsh economy at a debate at the Senedd on Wednesday.

Tolls have just risen to £5.60 for cars and £16.40 for HGVs and Mr German said the current situation is no longer sustainable.

New toll levels are introduced every January to help Severn River Crossing Plc cover costs of construction, operation and maintenance of the bridges.

But, the Department for Transport estimates the bridges will be paid for by 2016, at which time they will pass into ownership of the UK government.

Liberal Democrat AM Mr German said this will provide a great opportunity to boost the prosperity of Wales and said the Assembly is in a prime position to push for a decision on their future.

Mr German pointed to a study on the Humber Bridge in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Local authorities there clubbed together to commission a report on the likely effects of toll abolition or reduction.

He said the findings showed an “enormous impact” on job creation and a better, stronger regional economy would result from no or reduced tolls.

Mr German said - as has been shown with the use of cards to pay tolls - it has taken far too long to get changes implemented with regard to the bridges.

He called on the Assembly to start collecting evidence and present a case for reducing or abolishing tolls before 2016.

A Department For Transport spokesman said: "There have been no formal proposals yet on what should happen once the concession period ends."