Linklaters has enraged residents in flats neighbouring its London office by installing a temporary generator which they claim has been "pumping out noxious fumes" causing headaches and dizziness.

The firm has caused a stink as a result of one of its transformers breaking down at the end of March, a source told RollOnFriday. The firm parked "an industrial-sized diesel generator" (actually biofuel) on Silk Street, near its entrance, which initially "ran 24 hours a day, 7 days a week". The source said there was "no consultation" with residents in the Barbican's adjacent Cromwell Tower. The firm has since shortened the days and hours that the generator operates to 8am-6pm Monday to Thursday.

"Everyone walking on Silk Street is breathing it in; fumes are poisoning local residents' flats. Residents who live near the generator have been experiencing ill effects: chronic headaches, feeling nauseated, dizzy," a source told RollOnFriday.

One resident has put signs in the windows of their flat saying: "Your fumes stink / Stop poisoning our homes / Shut it off", visible to staff at Linklaters as it faces the firm's client conference rooms.

And a number of residents have protested outside Linklaters' London office this week, with slogans on their placards complaining about the "stink":


"What don't we want?"  / "Stinky fumes" 

"When don't we want them?" / "Cough...Now..."

"Linklaters' management doesn't want their lawyers and staff to work from home...or to share space in their fully functional Milton tower," a Barbican resident complained. "Nor will management pony up for WeWork passes for their staff."


Not to be mistaken for a Barbican 'performance art' flash mob

A Linklaters spokesperson told RollOnFriday, "We have been working with City of London Environmental Health Department and the Barbican Residents' Association to try and minimise and mitigate the impact of our temporary generator on local residents while we work to restore mains electricity to our building".

"As a result of these discussions, we have moved the generator, which is running on biofuel, to a new location further along Silk Street and reduced its operating hours. We hope to resolve our power outage as soon as possible.”

A resident said the switch to biofuel was "a red herring", as they believed it still caused pollution and "didn't make the air any cleaner".

However, a source close to the firm told ROF that the Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil on which Links now runs "is specially formulated to reduce the impact on local air quality...with up to 90% lower greenhouse gas emissions than traditional diesel".

Links is not the first firm to face protests. Extinction Rebellion targeted Eversheds Sutherland's office, one client marched with a placard outside Express Solicitors, and some protests should never be witnessed.

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Anonymous 19 April 24 10:12

Everyone wants green energy in principle, but then they have to live with the reality of it and it's suddenly much less popular. 

Would like to have glimpse of an alternative reality in which a diesel generator was being used, in which I suspect that there would have been light grumbling about noise but absolutely no issue with noxious fumes.

Anonymous 19 April 24 10:13

a Barbican resident complained. "Nor will management pony up for WeWork passes for their staff."

The Barbican resident was unwilling to put their hand in their own pocket to contribute to WeWork passes, but saw no inconsistency in that stance.

Joe 19 April 24 12:13

I thought the partnership at Linklaters was being dissolved due to all the exits? All their top partners have gone to US firms, no?

Anonymous 19 April 24 13:22

The term Stinklaters is going to hang around like a bad smell - not great for the brand because everyone will remember it for ages. Wanna work for Stinklaters, or Paul Weiss?

SRM 19 April 24 14:12

For clarification, the City of London Environment Team has stated to residents that the fumes from the biofuel is the same as diesel in terms of particulates and VOCs. It doesn't make the air any cleaner to breathe; it's just as bad.

Don't be hoodwinked about "lower emissions". This is often confusing to understand at first, because the energy industry uses a sleight-of-hand to talk about biofuel having lower "greenhouse gas emissions", meaning its life-cycle emissions are lower. I.e. it was once a plant, so it once absorbed C02. And it's not fossil fuel coming out from deep in the earth releasing "new" carbon into the atmosphere. "Lower emissions" in this sense are calculated at the macro of new carbon released. Not what you breathe in from the fumes. That's still just gnarly VOCs and particulates. Just like breathing in smoke from a forest fire.

You don't have to take my word for it:,than%20diesel%20fuel%20%5B78%5D.

Anon 19 April 24 15:56

As long as they’re polluting the local area in a “green” climate-friendly way, I’m all for it. I just hope that the individuals employed to run the biofuel thingy are sufficiently diverse. 

Marcopolo 19 April 24 16:09

Watch out Linkybaby, don't play around with ppls health, it may just backfire and oh boy those claims.

CheckYourPriveledge 22 April 24 20:37

Are we absolutely sure that this hasn't actually improved the air quality in the local area? 

I mean, it is London.

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