Most of the current research on active noise control is confined to restricted spaces such as earphones, active silencers, air-conditioning ducts, truck cabins and aircraft fuselages. In this paper the basic concepts of environmental noise reduction by using active noise control in unconfined spaces are explored. The approach is to develop a controlled acoustic shadow, generated by a wall of secondary sources, to reduce unwanted sound in the direction of a complaint area. The basic acoustic theory is considered, followed by computer modelling, and some results to show the effectiveness of the approach. EA Technology and Yorkshire electric in the United Kingdom are supporting this work.